Chief Charlie Boyte's report for June 2011

Michael Boyle

PIFR firmly believes fire prevention and education is our best defence in keeping the community safe from fires. So, I am pleased to report emergency call volume is down approximately 30 per cent from January to May compared to the same period in 2010.

These statistics are a great indication that our prevention and education programs are working! We also had a decline in Hydro line related incidents thanks to some preventative clearing by BC Hydro crews, and fewer serious windstorms this year compared to 2010.

It was pretty quiet around the Islands this winter. Seems like half the Island’s population ran away to someplace sunny this winter to get away from the incessant rain. Despite the wet spring it is extremely important that we do not become complacent. The reality is that most of that water is now in the salt chuck and the moisture left in the forest floor will soon be gone. This means it won’t take long for the fire hazard to increase as we head into to the dry summer months.

I am sure many of you have been following the tragic loss of property to wildfires in Alberta over the past weeks. It is hard to comprehend how one might feel after losing everything to a wildfire but we certainly got an idea from the news footage coming from Slave Lake. We must remain vigilant to prevent a serious fire like this from occurring in the Southern Gulf Islands this summer.

Ninety per cent of the Penders have no high volume water supplies for fire protection. In rural areas with lots of trees, and extended times of extreme fire danger, fires can grow very quickly. If the fire is allowed to get big enough it can become a wildfire.

The SGI Wildfire Prevention program will be delivered at the Swartz Bay ferry terminal again this year. Deputy Chief Mike Dine will be coordinating the program. All personnel and hard costs for this program are funded through grants. Volunteers and cadets deliver the messaging to the traveling public and SGI residents at the terminal so please give them your support when they visit you at your vehicles. They are doing a great job looking after all of us.

In past years the program has been very successful and is supported by the SGI emergency program, all the SGI Fire Departments, the Fire Commissioner of BC, and the Ministry of Forests. BC Ferries sponsors the costs for transportation of crews and provides the space at the terminal. Our sincere thanks go out to Ken Hancock SGI Director for facilitating a Capital Regional District grant and to the Victoria Foundation for their support to protect the Southern Gulf Islands from Wildfires.

As we move into the higher risk season please be careful with all outdoor burning and follow the regulations stipulated on your permit. A CRD bylaw officer, RCMP or Fire Duty Officer can issue tickets for non compliance. We can always put some extra money to good use, but we would rather have a voluntary contribution!

Stay safe and best regards.

Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
No permit is required
Regulations apply


Brigitte Prochaska

First Responder

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911


250 629-3321


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