Tracey Payne during a community event, planting trees. (Priyanka Ketkar photo)

FireSmart your garden to win a WASP home sprinkler system

RDBN launches a contest to ensure fire safety for residents

The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) has launched a contest to encourage residents to FireSmart their gardens using xeriscaping.

In a Facebook post, the Bulkley-Nechako Emergency Information, posted about the contest, along with information on xeriscaping. The regional district wants to encourage residents to prepare their homes for any unforeseen wildfire incidents and xeriscaping is one of the ways in which this can be done.

Xeriscaping is a method of landscaping through which excessive water usage can be avoided by planting plants that are native to the region and climate. This will not only ensure that the plants don’t dry out and become a wildfire hazard, but also allow residents to conserve water that is a much-needed resource for fighting fires.

The district wants to ensure that people are aware of, and planting fire-resistant plants. Some of the characteristics of fire-resistant plants are moist, supple leaves, a tendency to not accumulate dead material, little-to no dead wood, water-like sap with little-to no odour, and low amounts of sap or resin materials. The guide that the district has put out also contains information on the different varieties of plants that are good and those that are susceptible to wildfires.

The Burns Lake Community Garden Coordinator Tracey Payne explained that part of making a FireSmart garden is ensuring that there aren’t any trees leaning in or around the house. “At my own home, we don’t have any trees within 50 feet of the house and no coniferous trees for at least a 100 feet,” said Payne adding that, “people need to avoid cedar, shrubbery, anything that has got needles on it close to their house.” She also said that the coconut fibre doormats, hanging baskets with dried out grass, gardens with bark mulch and pine mulch are things that the homeowners need to avoid or take care of.

“Keeping the long grass cut back; even in vacant lots, the tall waist-high grass, growing and dying over a period of years accumulates a lot of dry material. That’s why cutting things back is something that I would encourage people to do,” said Payne.

For the contest, residents will need to send in the pictures of their FireSmart gardens by July 17, for a chance to win a WASP home sprinkler system.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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