Stellar Place the first Castlegar neighbourhood to receive National FireSmart recognition
Stellar Place is Castlegar’s first neighbourhood to become nationally recognized as FireSmart by FireSmart Canada.
They join a group of over 100 neighbourhoods across British Columbia that are recognized for their efforts in creating neighbourhoods that are more resilient against wildfire.
“This is a huge achievement and one that the FireSmart committee at Stellar place should be proud of,” says Garrett Fishlock, Regional District of Central Kootenay FireSmart Program Coordinator. “Over the last two years, Stellar Place built a solid foundation for a successful FireSmart program for years to come.”
Stellar Place’s FireSmart plans revolve around 4 key principles:
- community education
- emergency preparedness
- reducing highly combustible vegetation near homes
- long-term plans to replace exterior flammable building materials with non-combustible options as they are replaced
“As a resident of Stellar Place whose husband resides in Castleview Care Center,” member of the Stellar Place FireSmart committee, Rhonda Sorenson says, “The terror we felt when we learned the Merry Creek wildfire was so close to our city and our loved ones made us all realize the necessity of doing whatever we can to make our homes and our neighbourhoods safer from the imminent dangers of wildfire.”
Lindmar Strata and Sandalwood Court are two more neighbourhoods in Castlegar that have been working hard this year and both will be applying for FireSmart recognition this fall.
Fire smarting neighbourhoods and homes gradually builds a community that can withstand a wildfire and is more important now than ever. Castlegar residents had many reminders about the dangers of wildfire with the 2018 Syringa and 2021 Merry Creek wildfires.
“We are so proud of Stellar Place for their hard work, commitment to helping keep our community safe from wildfires, and work that aligns with the City’s Wildfire Protection Plan.” says Sam Lattanzio, City of Castlegar Fire Chief. “We encourage everyone in the community to think about actions they can take to protect their homes, neighbourhoods, and the Castlegar community.”
The FireSmart Canada Neighbourhood Recognition Program can be adopted by any neighbourhood. It starts with a small group of residents who have an interest in FireSmart and want to learn what they can do to help protect their neighbourhood from wildfire.
HOW TO BECOME FIRESMART
The Regional District of Central Kootenay provides free FireSmart services to Castlegar residents on behalf of the City. The Regional District of Central Kootenay provides a local Wildfire Mitigation Specialist who conducts a neighbourhood assessment and creates a detailed report for the FireSmart committee. If the committee decides to create a plan and move forward with recommended actions in the report, they are eligible to apply for FireSmart Canada recognition. Annual $500 grants are available through FireSmart BC to support volunteer committees seeking FireSmart recognition.
Individual homeowners can also have confidential assessments conducted by the Wildfire Mitigation Specialists from May to the end of September each year.
The City of Castlegar is a service centre in the West Kootenay. The diversified and growing economy is focused on the forestry, energy and mining sectors in the valley, and commercial services in the City. Quality of life features backcountry adventure and an increasingly dynamic urban culture, including the Millennium Park & Ponds and Sculpture Walk.