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General News · 3rd December 2021
Shaun Koopman
December 3 , 2021 SRD Accepts Applications from Community Organizations for Free Woodchips

Campbell River, BC – The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) is accepting applications until March 4th, 2022 from community organizations that would like to use woodchips for public purposes. Examples of uses that may be approved include erosion control on public trails and use in ecosystem restoration projects.

“The SRD has been made aware of concerns over the Union of BC Municipalities policy regarding the current method of wood waste disposal offered under the FireSmart Residential Driveway Wood Chipping Service. We understand some residents would like to see the woodchips kept in their community rather than have them disposed of at another location.” said SRD Chair Brad Unger. “This method allows us to reach agreement between our residents and the current UBCM policy”.

“UBCM oversees the FireSmart Community Funding & Supports grant through which the 100% funded woodchipping service is offered” said SRD Protective Services Coordinator Shaun Koopman. “I would like to thank the concerned residents who advocated for a compromise to the current policy and the UBCM staff who undertook many meetings with staff to hear our concerns”.

The community organizations who choose to submit an application for consideration, must do so with the understanding that woody debris plays a role in contributing to fire ignition. The wood chips/woody debris is allowed to be used only outside of the FireSmart Non-combustible Zone and Priority Zones 1, 2 and 3, which is 100 meters beyond any residential structure. Proposals from community organizations will still need to be vetted through the UBCM before approval can be given.

Research into the role that different types of mulch and woody debris (i.e. wood chips) can play when influencing wildfire spread within a community supports a conservative approach to the redistribution of this material in proximity to structures. For example, in low fuel moisture conditions such as a high or extreme fire danger rating, the low fuel moisture conditions of both mulch and woody debris support a very high probability of ignition potential from fire brands (embers). Applying or re-distributing the woody debris within the community to be used around gardens and homes on smaller lots would not be consistent with core recommendations from Firesmart BC. In addition, wood chips dry out faster and stay dryer longer than bark mulch and therefore present a higher threat than bark mulch from a garden centre.

If your community organization is interested in submitting an application, please visit