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Time to bust some broom

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POWELL RIVER, B.C. – The annual BroomBusters campaign from the Powell River fire department is getting set to begin.

Chief Terry Peters said it’s a team effort to rid the region of the invasive species, Scotch broom.

“For us at the fire department, it’s a flash-fuel that’s incredibly aggressive in fire situations, particularly in urban interface (fires),” he said.

“It grows on the power lines and other areas in town that can cause some significant circumstances in the community.”

He explained that each plant can actually produce up to 18,000 seeds that can remain viable for decades when exposed to sunlight.

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“Not to mention it chokes out the natural forest from growing, on top of the numerous health risks from allergic reactions,” he said.

He said they work with Vancouver Island departments on this initiative, as well as the Powell River Regional District and invasive species-combat groups.

“Anybody who lives in Powell River, you just need to take a drive in the springtime along the Peninsula, to Gibsons and you can certainly understand how things can get out of hand, if things don’t get done,” he said.

He noted other invasive species they’ve got their eyes on include Japanese knotweed, giant hogweed and the purple butterfly bush.

“This is potentially going to cause us problems years down the road that can be like what we are seeing with (Scotch) broom now, so we need to get on to this so we can start dealing with some of these things before things get out of hand in our community.”

Peters said on May 5th, the department will be hosting a Wildfire Community Protection Day at Timberlane Park.

Further details about the efforts from Powell River Fire Rescue can be found through their website. More information on Scotch broom and BroomBusters can be found at www.broombusters.org.

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