West Kelowna  

File photo: Wayne Moore - Castanet
File photo: Wayne Moore - Castanet

DWK looks at fuel management policy

by - Story: 54710

The District of West Kelowna is ready to establish a forest fuel management policy which could give private property owners access to assistance from fire services officials.

The policy, if adopted at Tuesday's council meeting, would include establishing a comprehensive public education and communication program.

It would be based on current industry standards and focus on private land to reduce the impact of wildfire in the municipality.

The recommendation comes partially as a result of a presentation made to council in September of 2009 by Wayne Byron on behalf of Huntsfield Green Strata residents. They were concerned about the fire hazards posed in Faulkner Creek.

It also comes less than a year after the 2009 wildfires in Glenrosa and Rose Valley which resulted in the evacuation of nearly 13,000 residents.

In a report prepared for council, Fire Chief Wayne Schnitzler, outlined two possible approach options - adopting a bylaw or adopting a policy.

Schnitzler recommended the policy approach.

"Policies provide council with the flexibility to respond to changing needs within the community," says Schnitzler.

"Private property owners wishing to conduct fuel mitigation work would have a fire services official available to them for property assessment and recommendations, however, property owners are not bound by these recommendations."

Schnitzler says the municipality would continue to pursue funding opportunities from senior levels of government to provide funding to private land owners.

He adds that the policy would need to be reviewed on a yearly basis.

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