Chief Charlie Boyte's report for March 2019


PIFR responded to 28 calls for service as of Feb. 18th. We thank residents who stayed off the roads during the recent snow events. It makes it so much easier for our highways crews to clear the roads allowing emergency services to function with minimal delays.

Severe weather events are clearly becoming more frequent. We faired quite well during the recent wind and snow storms, and we are learning a lot from our response. We have had several meetings to identify best practices and are analyzing our challenges, identifying gaps and working closely with our emergency response partners to close those gaps.

Assistant Chief Adrian Hanson attended the emergency program’s Preparedness Workshop Feb. 16th and addressed a variety of issues including: Safety concerns around downed hydro lines and the need to respect barriers and the instructions of responders; generator safety and operations during power outages; and the safe operation and maintenance of wood stoves and portable heaters. Also discussed was the value of affordable and bright LED lights instead of candles, and the requirements for working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

The Magic Lake Emergency Exit proved its worth during the storm allowing fire trucks to access a fire call in an area blocked by downed trees and hydro lines. It also allowed PIFR to get residents safely back to their homes bypassing obstructions and hazards.

Spring break is almost upon us. Cadet Camp Coordinator Ian Elliott, Assistant Chief Hanson, and our PIFR team are busy with final preparations for the 2019 Southern Gulf Islands Fire/Rescue Cadet Camp from March 18th to 23rd. The camp for teens 15 to 18 is delivered in partnership with Salt Spring Fire Rescue and other SGI Emergency Services including RCMP, SGI Emergency Program, BC Ambulance and volunteers from the SGI Fire Services.

The camp focuses on values, ethics, teamwork, conquering fears, and overcoming challenges. Once again, dedicated volunteers and career firefighters, (some graduates of previous camps) will take a week from their busy lives to train the 25 cadets. The cadets will attend a day of pre-training and team building Feb. 24th.

March 23rd is Parents’ Day, and we encourage the public to come and see the cadets demonstrate their skills from around 10 a.m. until noon. For further information, go to

The camp’s mentoring goal is to expose cadets to our amazing volunteers. However, we achieve so much more. The commitment, ability and determination of the cadets impacts our volunteers, who come away with a deep appreciation of the value and bright futures these young people will bring to their communities. The teens seem to reignite the passions that motivated our volunteers to serve in the first place. Soon, we hope to include a program for our indigenous youth as the program reaches its full potential. The camp has provided an excellent opportunity to recruit volunteers, and many camp graduates have gone on to serve as firefighters.

PIFR currently has 29 responding members dedicated to service excellence and this year we have five recruits in our first responder program, bringing our complement to 34. However, that still leaves us 16 members short of optimal staffing according to NFPA standards. We need to close that gap, so please step up if you can. Give us a call at Hall #1 – 250.629.3321 – and let us show you how you can help us keep our community safe.

Typically, in March, residents like to get a jump on spring yard cleaning because burning permits are not required until April 1st. Regardless, our bylaws require you to burn in the right place, only light fires of the right size and not burn prohibited materials. Check for changes in the regulations or fire hazards on this website.

Excessive smoke caused by burning green debris and leaves can harm someone with respiratory problems. Please be considerate of neighbours and extinguish your fire if the smoke is impacting them. Chipping is a great option and there are several island contractors who can bring a chipper to you. Please consider partnering with your neighbours or renting a chipper to reduce smoke pollution.

Finally, the PIFPS AGM will be held in April this year. Please look for the notice in this Pender Post and on our web site.

Until next month, stay safe and remember that smoke and CO alarms save lives.


Fire Chief Charlie Boyte

Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
No permit is required
Regulations apply


Julie Gray

First Responder

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911


250 629-3321


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