FireSmart Community Chipping Pilot Program

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The Kelowna FireSmartTM Community Chipping pilot program offers free curbside removal and chipping of highly flammable plant and shrub materials to homeowners in identified neighbourhoods from April to July 2022. Homeowners will need to cut and prune branches above the roots and pile them curbside for pick up according to the program’s schedule.

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.

Am I eligible for this pilot program?

The Community Chipping program is starting 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. 

Neighbourhoods included in this year's pilot program are:
Dilworth, Magic Estates, McKinley, Quail Ridge, Black Mountain, Gallagher’s Canyon and some surrounding areas, Mission Ridge and portions of Kettle Valley. View the schedule below to see if pickup will be happening in your area. 

Get ready for pick up day with three easy steps:

Image provided by FireSmart BC, image of landscaping in a yardImage showing tree stump, do not include roots in chipping-ready materialsHow to prepare materials example

Step 1

Identify hazardous vegetation for wildfire spread within Priority Zone 1
(within 0-10 meters of your home).

This includes: cedar hedges, juniper shrubs and conifer prunings (to create gap between the ground and live canopy)

Step 2 

Remove vegetation using best practices

Prune conifer trees (spruce, fir, pine) up to 2-2.5m or 30% of live canopy

Cut cedar hedges and/or juniper shrubs at ground level (no roots allowed)

Step 3 

Check the curbside pickup schedule and place material at curbside with cut ends facing street on your day.

Wave to pickup crew!

What materials are eligible for curbside pick up?

The following materials are considered highly flammable and are 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 will NOT be 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 are also not eligible for pickup through this program. Please ensure all acceptable material put out for pickup does not contain roots, dirt, rocks, gravel or non-organic material as they can damage the chipper.

What is the spring 2022 pilot pick up schedule?

Dates have been added for the second sweep off pick ups. Check out when pick-ups will be happening in your neighbourhood:

Neighbourhood1st Round Dates2nd Round Dates
DilworthApril 19 - 22May 30 - June 1
Magic EstatesApril 25 - 29June 2 - 3
McKinleyMay 2 - 6June 11 - 13
Quail RidgeMay 9 - 13June 27 - 28
Black MountainMay 16 - 20June 23 - 24
Gallagher's May 23 - 27June 29 - 30
Mission RidgeJune 6 - 10July 4 - 5
Kettle ValleyJune 13 - 17July 6 

Click the button below for a detailed street-level pick up schedule.

Chipping Pilot Pick Up Schedule - By Street

Please note that the schedule is subject to change based on volume of pick ups.

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 are included in the pilot program?

Neighbourhoods included in this year's pilot program schedule are: Dilworth, Magic Estates, McKinley, Quail Ridge, Black Mountain, Gallagher’s Canyon and some surrounding areas, Mission Ridge and portions of Kettle Valley. View the pick up schedule to see if (and when) pickup will be happening in your area. 

The Community Chipping program is starting 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 will review the success of this pilot program after the 2022 season, and there is potential for it to expand to other parts of our community in coming years.

If you have an abundance of the materials accepted for pickup but live outside the designated areas for this pilot, please contact us to see if contractor schedules will allow for pick-ups by request by emailing firesmart@kelowna.ca.

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.

Will this program be offered to additional Kelowna neighbourhoods, beyond those listed in the current schedule?

The Community Chipping pilot program is starting in 2022 in eight neighbourhoods where many of the homes and properties have landscaping that contains highly flammable plants and shrubs. In many cases, newer neighbourhoods have incorporated FireSmartTM landscaping that is already designed to reduce wildfire risks. We will review the success of this pilot program after the 2022 season, and there is potential for it to expand to other parts of our community in coming years.

If you have an abundance of the materials accepted for pickup but live outside the designated areas for this pilot, please contact us to see if contractor schedules will allow for pick-ups by request by emailing firesmart@kelowna.ca.

What if I can’t have my yard work done when the chipper is scheduled in my area?

There will be two passes of each neighbourhood in order to provide homeowners with flexibility in timing of yard work.

Are green bins still being picked up in these areas for other yard waste?

Yes, green waste bins will continue to be picked up throughout the course of this project. Please use those to dispose of grasses, deadheaded flower/plant material, deciduous (leafy) tree prunings, and other vegetation not accepted through this program.

To learn more about yard waste curbside collection, visit the Regional District of Central Okanagan's - Yard Waste page. 

The chipping truck didn’t remove the material I placed at my curb. Why?

Material must meet all standards for acceptance, including:

  • being free of dirt, gravel and non-plant material (such as twine or plastic)
  • placed with cut ends facing one direction
  • only include acceptable coniferous vegetation

If your material meets all these standards, the crew may be coming back tomorrow to finish. 
If you need to inquire about a missed pick up, please contact us at firesmart@kelowna.ca

I want to cut down a tree in my yard. Can I put it out for removal?

Deciduous (leafy) trees or whole coniferous (evergreen) trees cannot be accepted.
Material containing roots, dirt and gravel can damage the chipper and will also not be accepted. 

Prunings or branches from cedar hedges, juniper bushes, mugo pine, pine, fir and spruce will be collected.

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 250-469-8457 or by emailing firesmart@kelowna.ca.