Due to regulations in light of COVID-19, controlled burns will not take place at Rocky Point in Metchosin this year. (Chief Stephanie Dunlop/Metchosin Fire Department)

Metchosin offers chipping program in light of burning restrictions

Branches, woody shrubs can be chipped

There won’t be open burning in Metchosin any time soon.

Restrictions handed down by the province and BC Wildfire Service have forced communities to find solutions to deal with yard waste and debris. Metchosin will be providing its residents with a branch chipping program to help them remove woody shrub and windfall branches from their properties.

Metchosin Fire Department Chief Stephanie Dunlop already started making the rounds to properties to inspect debris piles and ensure they can be chipped by public works crews. She noted that prescribed burning at the Department of National Defence property in Metchosin will not be happening this year either.

The District’s own burning ban comes into effect on May 31.

“It’s to preserve air quality but also a large number of fires are man made and from people not sufficiently extinguishing burn piles,” Dunlop said. “By reducing open burning we reduce a further risk of having fires happen and reduce the risk of municipal and forestry firefighters getting sick with COVID-19.”

Residents can only set out tree branches between one to seven inches in diameter to be chipped as well as small, woody shrubs and windfall branches. No construction materials, fine debris, lawn clippings or loose leaves will be accepted. Branches and debris should not be placed in bags or boxes or tied with string or wire and must have easy vehicle access within private property or placed on the roadside if not obstructing traffic. They should be clean with no dirt, gravel or muddy roots.

Invasive species cannot be included as they contaminate chipped mulch, causing them to be unusable in garden beds. Broom, gorse or blackberry debris are not allowed and neither are soil, rock, roots/stumps or construction materials as they pose a safety risk to crews and can damage machinery.

To schedule chipping onsite, email firechief@metchosinfire.ca or call 250-478-1307 once the pile is prepared.

Dunlop said residents should also follow the Fire Smart guideline of clearing debris 30 metres around the home and encourages the use of sprinklers. She said the District is still figuring out how to collect items like pine needles and small debris that might be on the floor of the forest. Items such as propane should be stored away from the home in a structure such as a shed and should be marked for responders that might be on scene.

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca

CoronavirusDistrict of MetchosinMetchosin Fire Rescue

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