Chief Charlie Boyte's report for June 2016

Michael Boyle

PIFR responded to 76 emergency calls as of May 18 compared to 50 over the same period in 2015. That is a 52 per cent increase in volume and a trend we hope will not continue.

Our volunteers continue to train and work hard to ensure when you call 911 someone will come who knows what to do to help you through that emergency. We have good news on the volunteer front. Six new Pender recruits completed basic training and received their pagers May 14th. Their training included 144 hours of training plus a minimum of 30 hours of homework. These new members are eager to put their new skills to work. Please join us in welcoming them to our team.

Congratulations to: Todd Bulled, Kalani Scia Scia, Josh Jones, Adam Ferguson, Jesse Hunt and Dan Sarakanas. Congratulations also to the recruits from Mayne Island, Willis Point and Sidney who also completed the basic training in our recruit class.

It is clear from the calls we have received that the wildfires burning in BC and Alberta have made island residents more than a little nervous. That nervousness, and a healthy respect for the extreme drying we have experienced, will hopefully work in our favour.

We will need to work together to prevent a serious fire here if the drying trends continue. Certainly we will be erring on the side of caution when it comes to restrictions and prevention measures. As Deputy Chief Mike Dine says: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Through to October all the volunteer fire services on the Southern Gulf Islands (SGI) will face a challenging influx of visitors and seasonal residents. Risk exponentially increases with more people and when folks are unaware of the conditions that result in wildfires that can lead to disaster. You can help immensely by increasing visitor awareness. A friendly word over the fence or when you see a strange face may be all we need to remain safe.

Pender Island Fire Rescue will be focused on wildfire prevention, education and early response this summer. The wildfire prevention program will be delivered again at BC Ferries, the Farmers Market and other venues thanks to partnerships formed with the SGI Fire Departments, SGI Emergency Program, Parks Canada, Ministry of Forests, BC Ferries and funding from the Capital Regional District.

Deputy Chief Dine will be at the helm spreading our message that fire prevention and awareness is our best tool to limit risk. Early reporting and response is also essential. We have studied the circumstances around wildfires like those in Slave Lake and Fort MacMurray. These fires required the evacuation of areas much larger than the Penders.

Please read the emergency program article in this month’s Pender Post to see what preparations are in place. Watch for changes in the fire hazard rating (the big signs by the ferry, fire stations and bridge). Follow the restrictions on work and remember all permits including campfires and incinerators are cancelled when the “No Fires Anywhere” signs are posted. You are legally responsible for any fire you start. You certainly won’t like the bill or the reputation if you start a wildfire.

There are concerns around the economic impacts of work restrictions. PIFR is planning a forum to listen to those concerns, answer your questions and if possible incorporate your ideas into our prevention and regulation strategies. Please call and leave a message at Hall #1 if you would like to participate: 250-629-3321.

 

Fire Chief Charlie Boyte


Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
No permit is required
Regulations apply

member

Jason Atkinson

Captain
Vehicle Extraction
Technical Rescue

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911

Non-Emergency:

250 629-3321

administration@
penderfire.ca

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