FireSmart Community Chipping Pilot Program

Home > City Services > Safety & emergency services > Fire Department > FireSmart Kelowna > FireSmart Community Chipping Pilot Program

Thanks for helping make our community FireSmart, Kelowna! From April to July 2022, our FireSmart Community Chipping Pilot program removed almost 100 metric TONNES of hazardous debris from over 250 properties in neighbourhoods across the city.

The Kelowna FireSmartTM Community Chipping pilot program is now closed for 2022. This program offered free curbside removal and chipping of highly flammable plant and shrub materials to homeowners in identified neighbourhoods from April to July 2022. Please check back in early spring for updates on the Community Chipping program for 2023.


The goal of this program is to reduce the wildfire fuel levels on private properties in Kelowna. For homeowners and residents, FireSmartTM landscaping is the most significant and immediate step that you can take to protect your property.

The Community Chipping program started as a pilot to prioritize areas of the city where homes and properties are more likely to have landscaping that contains highly flammable plants and shrubs. 

What materials were eligible for curbside pick up?

The following materials are considered highly flammable and were eligble for pick up through this pilot program: 

Cedar

Example of a cedar hedge

Juniper

Example of Juniper

Mugo Pine

Example of Mugo Pine

Conifer branches
and prunings
(spruce, fir, pine) 

Example of coniferous tree branches

What materials were NOT picked up as part of this program?

Deciduous (leafy) trees and shrubs are not eligible for pickup. Grasses, flowers, bulk pine needles, and other small plant materials can go in your yard waste (green bin) and were also not eligible for pickup through this program. All acceptable material put out for pickup should never contain roots, dirt, rocks, gravel or non-organic material as they can damage the chipper.

Did you know: highly flammable plants provide fuel and can increase fire intensity. They often contain fine, dry, dead material such as twigs, needles, leaves and loose, papery bark. The stems, branches and/or leaves can also contain volatile waxes or oils, which ignite easily.
For more information and tips on fire-resistant plants and shrubs, visit the FireSmartTM BC Landscaping Guide.

Community Chipping Pilot Program - Frequently asked questions

What neighbourhoods were included in the 2022 pilot program?

Neighbourhoods included in the 2022 pilot program schedule were: Dilworth, Magic Estates, McKinley, Quail Ridge, Black Mountain, Gallagher’s Canyon and some surrounding areas, Mission Ridge and portions of Kettle Valley. 

The Community Chipping program started as a pilot to prioritize areas of the city where homes and properties are more likely to have landscaping that contains highly flammable plants and shrubs. Many newer neighbourhoods in Kelowna have already incorporated FireSmart landscaping that is designed to reduce wildfire risks.

We are currently reviewing the success of the 2022 pilot program. There is potential for it to expand to other parts of our community in coming years.

Why aren’t more plants, trees and shrubs included in this program?

This Community Chipping pilot program is designed to help reduce the risk of impacts from wildfires. It is funded by a provincial wildfire risk reduction grant through the Union of BC Municipalities. We will only be offering free removal of specific flammable vegetation (juniper, cedar hedges, mugo pine and pruned branches from pine, fir or spruce) to assist with making your property and home FireSmartTM.

I am interested in learning more about FireSmart landscaping best practices. How can I find out what plants are recommended and safe choices?

The FireSmartTM BC Landscaping Guide is a comprehensive resource for homeowners and includes recommended plants and vegetation. Printed copies of the guide are available at the City of Kelowna Parks Office on KLO Road. 

You can also visit FireSmart BC’s Fire-resistant plants for your climate page, enter your postal code and browse through trees, shrubs, vines and groundcovers, grasses, perennials and biennials, annuals and bulbs that are best suited in your area.

I still have questions about the program. Who can I contact?

There is a hotline available for information and questions at 250-469-8733 or by emailing firesmart@kelowna.ca.