Chief Charlie Boyte's report for July 2017

Michael Boyle

There were 141 new reasons our volunteers are motivated to train, practice skills and prepare. Those were the number of emergency calls answered this year as of June 19th.

They did that to ensure if you call 911, someone will come who knows what to do to help you through your emergency. That is our commitment to you and your return on the investment you make through your taxes.

Outdoor fires are not allowed in July, August and September under the CRD Bylaw. Please watch for changes in the hazard rating and regulations. These are posted on our fire signs and on this web site.

Wildfire is the number one threat to our safety and our property. This threat is compounded when more people are doing more things in and around the forest. It is also compounded by the lack of water supplies for firefighting, rural response times and the proximity of homes to forested areas.

This May we were reminded of the threat posed from wildfires. The anniversary of the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire that claimed 2,400 homes and buildings was relived in newscasts and I know it scared some of you because you called about it. I had a unique opportunity to gain some Fort McMurray insight at the recent BC Fire Chiefs Conference. I listened to a recount and talked with the fire chief that served through that fire. I hope that conversation is the closest I get to experiencing an incident of such proportion.

There is no doubt that we will face a significant wildfire risk again this year. Each year the island population swells with returning friends and neighbours that own seasonal residences. Summer is also the peak time for visitors. When folks are unaware of wildfire risks there is the potential for disaster. Part time residents and visitors are the most important to connect with and hardest to reach.

That is why we need your help to educate neighbours and visitors and to immediately report unattended fires, careless behaviour and smoke of unknown origin. Early reporting and response are essential to success. We need you to accept responsibility to keep your homes fire safe, inside and out, because house fires start wildfires and vice versa. We need you to ensure homes and cabins are properly outfitted with working smoke alarms (less than 10 years old with new batteries) and we need you to know to get out and call 911 immediately when fires occur.

We also need your help to stop careless fires. We receive numerous complaints of smoking materials found on the sides of the road. If you see someone throwing a cigarette butt from a vehicle please get the licence plate number, stop your car in a safe place and put the butt out. Please make a call to the RCMP on the non-emergency number (250-629-6171) and report the incident. This is a serious offence carrying fines of up to $2,000. RCMP will gladly follow up with the vehicle owner. We need you to witness, act on and defend our islands from these risky behaviours. You can make a difference.

Pender Island Fire Rescue will remain focused on wildfire prevention, education and early response over the next few months. As a preventive measure, we will again deliver the SGI Wildfire Prevention Program at the BC Ferry terminal at Swartz Bay. We will also be at the Farmers Market and other venues over the high-risk season. Deputy Chief Mike Dine will be at the helm again spreading our message that fire prevention and awareness are our best defense against wildfires. Please give our SGI crews at the terminal your support.


Fire Chief Charlie Boyte

Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
No permit is required
Regulations apply


Glenn Henderson

Support Crew
Truck Checker

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911


250 629-3321


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