The FireSmart BC Plant Program is back by popular demand—bigger and better than ever. Since its inception in the spring of 2021, feedback from both garden centres and the public has been overwhelmingly positive. In 2022, we rolled out the program to over 30 stores across BC. We plan to continue that momentum this year.
The Plant Program provides gardeners, landscapers, and suppliers with the knowledge and tools to help mitigate wildfire risks. It works with merchants to promote fire-resistant plants and uses specialized product tags that identify fire-resistant species, making it easier for homeowners to make informed choices when shopping for plants.
As a gardener, you can help by informing your local garden centre or nursery about the program. Encourage them to get involved and let them know that by joining they’ll enjoy the benefits of partner recognition, recognition as a fire-resistant plant supplier, and promotion through social media and media events. They will also receive staff training and point-of-purchase support, including plant tags, signage, and landscaping guides. But, most importantly, their participation will play an important role in promoting community wildfire resiliency.
What’s All the Fuss About Fire-Resistant Plants?
Highly flammable plants provide fuel for wildfires and can also increase their intensity. They often have: fine, dry, dead material within the plant (twigs, needles, and leaves); loose papery bark that burns easily; and stems, branches, and leaves with volatile waxes, terpenes, or oils.
Fire-resistant plants are less likely to ignite and contribute to the spread of wildfires. Some examples include deciduous trees, succulents, and plants with high moisture content. By incorporating fire-resistant plants into your garden, you can help reduce the spread of wildfires and protect your home.
If you’re looking to find which fire-resistant plants will thrive well where you live, then you’ll want to check out our handy landscaping tool. It can help you identify the species that grow in your specific climate. FireSmart selections not only lower the risk of structural damage due to wildfire but can also increase sustainability, helping to conserve water and attract pollinators.
The Lowdown on Landscaping
Landscaping isn’t just about aesthetics; it can also play a crucial role in reducing the risk of loss caused by wildfire. The plants you choose, where you plant them, and how you maintain them can be the deciding factors in whether or not your home survives a wildfire.
Our Landscaping Hub, which features the FireSmart BC Landscaping Guide and information about the FireSmart BC Plant Program, makes it easier than ever to increase the resiliency of your property through smart landscaping choices. It’s a wealth of knowledge that includes an extensive list of fire-resistant plants, instructions on how to recognize the characteristics of other plants, and expert insights on making a vegetation barrier that lowers the risk of sparks and embers igniting your home and other structures. It also provides information on the best plants for different climates and microclimates in BC, as well as their watering needs and hardiness.
By making some strategic choices in your yard, you can increase the wildfire resiliency of your property. Here are a few tips to get you started today:
- Keep grass cut below 10 cm: Grass shorter than 10 centimetres is less likely to burn intensely, reducing its ability to ignite structures.
- Know the plants and trees on your property: Coniferous trees (spruce, pine, fir, and cedar), with cones and needles, are highly flammable and should not be within 10 metres of your home.
- Understand the Home Ignition Zone (HIZ): Learn the three priority structure ignition zones around your property, and work with your neighbours in any overlapping priority zones.
From the Plant Program to the Landscaping Hub, FireSmart has everything you need to make informed choices this gardening season. If you’re a homeowner or gardener, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local garden centre and ask about the FireSmart Plant Program. Or, even if your garden centre isn’t already involved, simply use the information on our website to begin making your landscape FireSmart. Together, we can help create safer, more resilient communities.