Chief Charlie Boyte's report for August 2010

Michael Boyle

A large structural fire July 18 on Mayne Island destroyed the home, spread to the surrounding forest and injured a fire fighter. Fortunately, the residents were not injured and the fire was contained. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families involved and we wish a speedy and full recovery to the injured firefighter.

This fire reminds us that house fires are devastating for families and they can easily start forest fires. Please be extremely careful with BBQs. Make sure they are away from flammables, avoid the use of wood stoves and never burn rubbish or paper that can ignite the hot dry materials on your roof. Keep matches and lighters in a safe place away from children. More than half of children who light fires die in the fire they start. Make sure your smoke detectors are tested and working and call 911 early if you smell smoke.

The fire danger rating reached "HIGH" July 7. After three days at this threat level the CRD Bylaw and Provincial Wildfire regulations require that all high risk activities within 300 meters of a forest must be concluded by 1p.m. and that a two-hour fire watch be conducted thereafter. You must have the tools and water to contain any fire you might start.

Basically this means that much of North and South Pender are restricted from activities that might start a fire after 1p.m. The reason for 1p.m. is that fires that start in the hot afternoon tend to get really big really fast and if they are not extinguished by dusk they will get a lot bigger by the next morning because it is too dangerous to fight them after dark. If it happens to be a windy night we might all be looking for a new place to live.

When the fire risk reaches "EXTREME" all high risk activities must cease. High risk activities include the use of gas powered equipment. Things like lawn mowers and weed eaters and chainsaws can cause sparks from the blades and exhaust. When the grass is warm in the afternoon a small fire has the capacity to out run most healthy athletes and can be in the forest in minutes. These rules are designed to protect all of us from wildfire so please be careful. If the chore might start a fire save it for the next day ... it's a good excuse to go to the beach and have some fun.

To manage the economic impacts of closures, exemption permits are available to contractors that show a clear need to complete projects and who can provide fire prevention measures to minimize risk. If you see some work that looks risky after 1 p.m. please let us know and we will check the permit.

To date in 2010 we have had 110 emergency calls and we are continuing our education at the ferry terminal to reach our part time and visiting population. This program has been highly successful and won the department a provincial award in 2009. Thank you all for your support for this vital fire prevention work and have a safe and sunny August.

If you see a fire or smoke call 911. The house you save may be your own!

PS: Deputy Chief Mike Dine needs some cars for training. If anyone has a car that they would like removed PIFR will pick it up at no cost. Contact: Hall #1, 250-629-3321

Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
No permit is required
Regulations apply


Michael van Bakel

Technical Rescue

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911


250 629-3321


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