July 18, 2019
City updates Land Use Regulations to increase resiliency to potential wildfires; Free FireSmart Assessments available to Nelson property owners
Nelson, BC – The City of Nelson has taken additional steps to become a more wildfire resilient community by updating its land-use regulations to include best practices from FireSmart BC. FireSmart is a program that encourages residents to take the steps necessary to protect their property from wildfire through the adoption of FireSmart techniques. FireSmart principles have proven to be effective in reducing the risk related to loss during extreme wildfire conditions.
The updated regulations include changes to building materials for new construction in the Wildfire Interface Zone within Development Permit Area #3 as well as landscaping requirements throughout the City. Given its proximity to heavily forested areas, Nelson faces a serious threat from the possibility of wildfires themselves, as well as ember showers from wildfires in the area. For this reason, the new regulations prohibit the planting of new coniferous trees/plants within 1.5 metres of a dwelling. Coniferous trees/plants are highly combustible as compared to other types of vegetation. The regulations also require fire-resistant building material to be used in certain areas for new construction as well as steps to better protect homes from wildfires and ember showers.
“Becoming a resilient community to wildfires is a shared responsibility between the City and residents,” says Mayor Dooley. He adds, “We need our community to step forward and take the necessary steps to improve their property through FireSmart principles. This saves homes and will reduce the impact on the community in the event of a wildfire impacting Nelson.”
Adhering to the new regulations will better protect properties that are located in the ‘wildfire interface’ - the area that is most threatened by wildfires and ember showers. A map of the wildfire interface is available at www.nelson.ca/wildfire.
For those homes in the Wildfire Interface Zone within Development Permit #3 zone the new regulations will require that:
- Vegetation not be planted right next to the home;
- New building construction use materials that are BC FireSmart compliant; and
- A covenant is registered on the title for new construction to ensure that futures owners are aware of these restrictions.
What actions has the City taken to be FireSmart?
- Implemented new regulations for properties located in the ‘wildfire interface’ (DP #3) zone
- Implemented a City-wide planting regulation, which requires new plantings to be done in a way that reduces the likelihood that such plantings spread fire to nearby buildings and structures.
- Since 2007, the City has offered the FireSmart property assessment program available for all residential properties in the City.
- Developing its own planting plan that will adhere to FireSmart principles by removing identified vegetation within 1.5 metres of City-owned buildings and structures. Other new plantings around City buildings and structures will also be FireSmart.
Nelson Fire and Rescue Services offers free FireSmart assessments and risk evaluation of the exterior of your home and property. Contact Nelson Fire and Rescue to arrange a FireSmart Home/Property Assessment today at (250) 352-3103.
Additional information on the new regulations can be found at nelson.ca/wildfire.
The City of Nelson’s Development Services Department is available to help residents comply with these regulations. They can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (250) 352-8260.
Fire Chief Len MacCharles – email@example.com or (250) 352-3103
Sebastien Arcand, Senior Planner – firstname.lastname@example.org or (250) 352-8202