Chief Charlie Boyte's report for August 2019


PIFR statistics continue to reinforce the volunteer commitment required to maintain our valuable fire and rescue services 24 hours a day all year. There were 25 calls for service in June, bringing the total for the year to 119; approximately 16 per cent higher than call volume experienced over the same period in 2018.

We will probably respond to more than 325 calls for service in 2019. We could really use the help of some new people to manage the resulting workload. We need about 16 new volunteer responders to meet our staffing goal. “Many hands make light work,” and when we have a full complement of staff, it really helps to lighten the load for all. We also have lots of openings for those who want to help PIFR in other ways, such as truck checkers, grounds maintenance and culinary teams. If you care about others and are up to the challenge, and think you would like to be a member of our response or support teams, we will teach you everything you need to know. You can be that home town hero. Please give us a call at 250-629-3321 and let us show you how you can help us to keep the community safe.

As I write this on July 11th, an unusually wet start to July has dampened the wildfire risk. The rain will result in fine fuels such as brush and grasses growing like crazy, ultimately increasing the risk of fires spreading quickly when they dry out again. We will continue to monitor conditions and proactively address risks through the burn ban and high-risk activity permits. The “no tossed butts” campaign is in full swing, and seven more fire departments are now using our model. BC Ferries is firmly behind us again this year, making announcements about the fire risks in the Southern Gulf Islands when arriving on the islands. Many thanks also to BC Ferries for sponsoring the ferry fares for our fire prevention truck and personnel on the ferry.

Restrictions regulating high-risk activities are in effect when the fire signs indicate a high or extreme hazard. Outdoor burning, campfires and beach fires are not allowed anywhere. All gas or diesel equipment and other spark-producing activities are prohibited except with a permit. The permit system is designed to enable local projects to keep moving ahead while ensuring measures are in place to mitigate fire risk. Please check “Work Restrictions” on this website before starting work.

Our ability to manage wildfire risk depends on public awareness, early reporting, and initial response effectiveness. You can help. Our fire prevention teams are working hard in the community and at the ferry terminal, but there are opportunities right in your own backyard to help us get the message out. This is especially true when your neighbours are visitors or part-time residents who may not be aware of the risks or regulations to keep us safe. Face-to-face communication encourages people to quickly report smoke, fires and risky behaviour.

In the municipalities, full-time paid staff are in the fire stations 24/7 and can respond to calls in eight minutes or less. Pender’s volunteers need a head start because they have to get from their homes to the fire halls, which can add five minutes to response time.

You can give them an edge. Immediately dial 911 to report all smoke and fires – even if you think a small fire is out or under control. Ensure your address is clearly marked and communicated to the dispatcher so we can find you when you make that call and contain the fire in its early stages. Also, a well-marked address may save a life in a medical emergency. Don’t be afraid to call 911. Early reporting and response are essential in our rural community.

We also need you to take responsibility for keeping your homes fire safe inside and out because house fires start wildfires and vice versa. Please visit the and websites.

Please ensure your homes and cabins with sleeping quarters have working smoke alarms; this also applies to campers and motor homes. Make sure the fire alarms are less than 10 years old, and the batteries are new. Under the British Columbia Fire Code, all homes and all recreational cabins and sleeping rooms are required to be protected by smoke alarms. It is the law, and it is also the right thing to do to protect those you love.

Have a safe and fun summer and thanks for your help in keeping our community safe.


Fire Chief Charlie Boyte

Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
No permit is required
Regulations apply


Rebecca Eagen

Fire Fighter 2

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911


250 629-3321


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