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Letter: Keep dried out Christmas trees out of the backyard

To The Editor:

I read the submitted article (published Tuesday, December 31, 2019) on the online (The Nelson Daily) site from the Nature Conservancy of Canada suggesting to leave Christmas trees in backyards to slowly decay.

While I do support the spirit of the article to provide increased habitat for bird populations and other flora and fauna; I think it is important to consider this article was written for all of Canada and not necessarily for those living in higher wildfire risk communities, such as Nelson.

The article promotes placing Christmas trees in backyards and allowing them to dry out and slowly decay over the coming summer months. As part of the FireSmart program, Nelson Fire & Rescue Services actually encourages the removal of dry ground fuels, such as dead trees, limbs and other woody debris as they ignite very easily during wildfire season and can quickly spread to structures.

Dried out Christmas trees in backyards would be added fuel for hot embers and brands that can travel up to 2 kms from a nearby wildfire. Studies have shown that about 90% of structures lost due to wildfire catch on fire from ember showers, not because of the wildfire itself.

We are fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the country, but the same beauty presents wildfire risks that we all have a role in managing and keeping dried out Christmas trees in our backyards is something I strongly recommend not doing.

Depending on where one lives, Nelson Fire & Rescue Services (250) 352-3103 or the Regional District of Central Kootenay (250) 352-6665 are happy to provide FireSmart assessments for your property as soon as the snow clears – just give us a shout to book your assessment.

Thank you for your work in keeping our community informed about the risks of wildfire and how we can help to reduce that risk.

Sincerely,

Len MacCharles,

Fire Chief & Director of Emergency Management, City of Nelson