Chief Charlie Boyte's report for September 2018


Despite “extreme” wildfire risk much of this summer, I am happy to report we have had no serious fires on the Penders. Touch wood! Thank you all for your cooperation with equipment closures, for reporting risky behaviours, and for talking to your neighbours to help them understand the risks and consequences of wildfires.

It is hard not to be a bit paranoid. TV screens display images daily of catastrophic wildfires and other BC residents not as fortunate as we have been. It looks as if BC will break records again this year for area burned. Last year that record was almost one million hectares.

These fires and the extreme storms associated with our changing weather patterns appear to be the new norm. Our trusted weather monitor here on Pender, Malcolm Armstrong, observed much warmer temperatures than past years (July was the warmest in at least 31 years). Also, the Penders had well below average precipitation in May, June and July.

We all want to enjoy the Penders environment and, the reality is, we can do that without setting the islands on fire. We cannot afford to become complacent. Please, continue to be careful, and keep up the good work and vigilance!

While most folks were enjoying the sunshine, our summer students and volunteer firefighters were pounding the hot pavement at Swartz Bay and cruising the Farmers’ Market and other venues to spread the fire prevention message. Our students also tested more than four kilometres of fire hose, detailed every truck and cleaned our fire halls under the capable direction of Captain Adrian Hanson. Please join me in thanking them and wishing Morgan Kelly and Nicholas van Bakel a fantastic term as they return to their studies this fall.

Talk about life insurance … our fire and rescue volunteers will come to your door or your neighbourhood and prevent harm to your loved ones and your property. Sometimes we forget this value until faced with an emergency. It is clear to me that there is nothing as pure and cost-effective as community members serving community.

You don’t need a crystal ball to predict the impacts on insurance rates that will follow the massive fire losses of the past few years. Those costs can be minimized by supporting and maintaining our excellent fire services, improving water supplies for fire protection, and adopting fire smart principles in our homes and neighbourhoods. A modest investment in your fire services is your best safety assurance and will likely limit the impact of these wildfires on your wallets.

As I watch firefighters across BC come together, it makes me proud to be part of this dedicated and selfless profession. Again this year, we have been asked to put a truck and crew on standby, and I am expecting a call any moment to deploy to one of the 600 wildfires burning in BC.

We will be ramping up our recruiting drive this September to stay ahead of the burnout curve. If you are industrious, caring, and physically fit, please consider reallocating some of your time. You can partner with great people to help keep your families and friends safe. Formal training starts in January 2019, however, we hope to deliver some courses in October and November this year to get you into a truck and responding as soon as possible. Call us at 250-629-3321, stop by Hall #1, 4423 Bedwell Harbour Road, or click on the "HELPING PIFR" icon on the left side of the homepage. Join us today!

PIFR has responded to 158 incidents as of August 17. Stay safe and check those smoke alarms now!


Fire Chief Charlie Boyte

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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