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Two Castlegar neighbourhoods receive national FireSmart recognition

Sandalwood Court and Lindmar Estates are now nationally recognized as FireSmart neighbourhoods
Sandalwood FireSmart Committee (L-R): Mayor Kirk Duff, Dawn Waldie, Herb Teindl, RDCK Wildfire Mitigation Specialist Greg Barnhouse, Bill Kalesnikoff, Marlene Kalesnikoff, Vera Markortoff, Fire Chief Sam Lattanzio

Submitted by City of Castlegar

Sandalwood Court and Lindmar Estates in Castlegar are now nationally recognized as FireSmart neighbourhoods by FireSmart Canada.

They join Stellar Place as the second and third neighbourhoods in Castlegar and a group of over 100 neighbourhoods across British Columbia that are recognized for their efforts in creating neighbourhoods that are more resilient against wildfire.

The FireSmart Canada Neighbourhood Recognition Program can be adopted by any neighbourhood. It starts with a small group of residents who have an interest in FireSmart and want to learn what they can do to help protect their neighbourhood from wildfire.

“It is great to see two more Castlegar neighbourhoods proactively working hard to keep our community safe from wildfires after seeing the dangers of wildfire with the 2018 Syringa and 2021 Merry Creek wildfires,” says Sam Lattanzio, City of Castlegar Fire Chief. “FireSmarting neighbourhoods helps to build a resilient community that can withstand a wildfire which is more important now than ever.”

“These groups worked so hard for this recognition and they should be very proud,” says Garrett Fishlock, Regional District of Central Kootenay FireSmart Program Coordinator. “Both Sandalwood Court and Lindmar Estates committed to FireSmarting, received neighbourhood assessments, and put their planning into action, reducing their risk of wildfire while maintaining beautiful landscaping and wildland living aesthetics.”

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How other neighbourhoods can get recognized

• Get in touch –A wildfire mitigation specialist can help determine what a FireSmart program in your neighbourhood might look like. Learn more at

• Form a FireSmart committee – This consists of three to five people living in the neighbourhood.

• Receive a neighbourhood assessment – This addresses the wildfire-related characteristics of the neighbourhood, providing unique recommendations in the form of a detailed report.

• Create a FireSmart plan – This written plan defines your neighbourhood’s unique approach to FireSmart.

• Put your plan into action — Host an event and implement some of the recommendations.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay provides FireSmart services to Castlegar residents on behalf of the city, including a local wildfire mitigation specialist who conducts a neighbourhood assessment and creates a detailed report for the FireSmart committee. If the committee decides to create a plan and move forward with recommended actions, they are eligible to apply for FireSmart Canada recognition. Annual $500 grants are available through FireSmart BC to support volunteer committees seeking FireSmart recognition.

How to make your home firesmart

Individual homeowners can also have free, confidential assessments conducted by the wildfire mitigation specialists from May to the end of September each year. Learn more at

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Lindmar FireSmart Committee (L-R): RDCK Wildfire Mitigation Specialist Greg Barnhouse, Kathy Underwood, Deputy Fire Chief Nick Ahlefeld, Jonathan Underwood, Olga Cheveldave, Joe Cheveldave, Mayor Kirk Duff, Nadeen Elasoff, Bill Elasoff, Fire Chief Lattanzio