Conair pilot Grahame Wilson drops a load of fire retardant on the interface fire in Kaleden last summer.                                 Western News file photo

Conair pilot Grahame Wilson drops a load of fire retardant on the interface fire in Kaleden last summer. Western News file photo

South Okanagan community taking action on fire prevention

Community working to prevent a repeat of last summer’s wildfire

Kaleden residents are working to reduce the risk of another wildfire burning through their town.

Last July 4, a wildfire broke out on the edges of Kaleden, forcing an evacuation, destroying a house and reminding the small community how vulnerable they are.

Related: At least one house fully engulfed in Kaleden wildfire

Reducing the risk of wildfire in Kaleden has been a focus for many community members since that July day, starting with a forum last November to organize a FireSmart program.

Related: Reducing the risk of wildfire in Kaleden

Now, it’s time for action with a full day of co-operative effort on May 5 to target problem areas and encourage property owners to do their part.

All community members are asked to remove or trim tree branches that touch the ground on their properties; remove dead trees, trim bushes and shrubbery; and cut and rake up tall dead grasses and pine needles.

From 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Kaleden residents can bring tree and shrub refuse (no bigger than three inches in diameter) to a chipper that will be located on Ponderosa Road near Pioneer Park. Grasses can be dropped off at this location as well.

This is only for trees, shrubs and wildfire fuel materials, not boards, green grass or other yard waste.

Starting at 9:30 a.m., those over 16 years old that would like to volunteer for the Kaleden Irrigation District’s Lakehill Road/Sumac Avenue demonstration project, can park in the church parking lot and walk to the site. This will be a supervised and controlled clean up with equipment working and vehicles coming and going. Bring gloves, rakes, pole saws, weed eaters and other tools if you have them, and dress appropriately with good shoes, long pants and eye and ear protection.

There will be a tent site for check in and job assignments. Observing the demonstration can be done from a safe distance. Questions will be answered and FireSmart manuals will be provided.

If you have specific questions about the workday or can help in some way, contact the Kaleden fire hall at 250-497-8231.