As the weather warms and the snow melts away, Whistlerites are encouraged to keep the threat of wildfire front of mind.
The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is providing opportunities in the coming weeks for residents to reduce the impact of wildfires on their properties, in addition to ongoing activities in support of Whistler's Wildfire Protection Strategy.
"Wildfires will happen. The municipality is investing heavily in community wildfire protection, but it is a shared responsibility. Take advantage of opportunities we are offering this spring to reduce the impact of wildfires to your property," Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said in a release.
The RMOW is offering six community chipper days on Sundays this spring and summer, with the first scheduled for May 6. Private property owners are encouraged to work with their neighbours to clean up their properties by removing brush and tree debris, which will then be picked up and chipped free of charge by the municipality.
Removing debris reduces the amount of potential fuel for a wildfire, and is the most significant immediate step residents can take to protect their property.
To organize a chipper day, contact FireSmart coordinator Scott Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Materials that can be included for pick-up are natural woody debris, tree limbs and stems. Construction material and invasive species will not be accepted.
Yard waste including deadfall trees, branches, needles, leaves and dry grass can be dropped off free of charge at the Nesters Depot daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Homeowners can safely burn their garden debris from April 28 to May 13 with a free permit from the Whistler Fire Rescue Service.
Residents can also learn more about how to FireSmart their properties at information sessions hosted by the Whistler Fire Rescue Service.
Community information booths will be set up on April 26 and 27 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Nesters Market, April 26 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Creekside Market and April 29 from 2 to 3 p.m. at Rainbow Plaza.
On Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, Saturday, May 5, the RMOW's FireSmart crew will be hosting a "walk and talk" along the Lost Lake area between the PassivHaus and White Gold from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Residents can learn how to make their property FireSmart and how the municipality is working to reduce the impact of wildfire on the community.
Meanwhile, the RMOW's fuel thinning work continues on 6.2 hectares above the Whistler Cemetery and 15 hectares above the Alpine Meadows subdivision. The two areas are now closed for final cleanup including minimal burning.
The RMOW and the Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF) are also partnering on a fuel-thinning project covering 130 hectares on either side of Cheakamus Lake Road. The goal is to thin 50 hectares at the far end of the road this year and to work toward the highway in 2019. Residents and visitors are reminded to watch for equipment and obey signage as work is in progress.
Learn more about wildfire protection and the FireSmart program at whistler.ca/firesmart.