Chief Charlie Boyte's report for September 2019


Pender Island Fire Rescue has answered 159 calls for service as of mid-August. Our amazing volunteers have also supported more than 25 community events and, as I write this report, our PIFR crews are out once again, this time assisting with the Pride Parade.

Our responders and support crews take great care in the work they do, and I know it gives them a feeling of pride that enriches their lives. They exemplify diversity and inclusiveness in our community and demonstrate how, by working together and embracing personal uniqueness, we open opportunities for all to contribute their best. If we encourage and support people to excel and take pride in who they are, we build community resiliency.

HELP WANTED: Pender Island Fire Rescue is starting a new-recruit campaign in September. We need new, paid, on-call firefighters, and we have redesigned training to minimize time away from work and family, making it easier for people to take on this worthwhile endeavour! At no cost to those who join our team, the program delivers thousands of dollars’ worth of professional, accredited NFPA 1001 training recognized across most of North America.

Our new program is designed to limit classroom time, and it breaks practical training into manageable chunks every second Saturday. If you are fit, want to stretch yourself physically and mentally, and are interested in acquiring professional training – at no cost to you – please give us a call at 250-629-3321, email us at, or drop by Hall #1, 4423 Bedwell Harbour Road.

Thank you for your vigilance over the High and Extreme fire danger periods this summer. We still have a way to go managing the wildfire risk, and we will need your continued support. There are many new residents and visitors who do not fully understand the safety challenges we face in a complex environment.

What makes our small community environment so complex? We have a population base of about 2,500 full-time residents whose houses and other combustible structures are intermixed with forested areas, in sensitive and rare ecosystems that nature is programmed to burn every 60 years or so.

Natural forest fires where we live have been suppressed for a hundred years, thus increasing the forest fuel load, increasing risk. As the population has grown, more people have discovered how exceptional and beautiful the Southern Gulf Islands are, and they have wanted to share that with families and friends. The result is a doubling or tripling of the number of people interacting with the island environment over the high-risk season.

Parks Canada has protected more land, and that has attracted more visitors.

Simultaneously, the value and size of dwellings have been increasing. Today, the entire social and environmental landscape is further threatened by a declared climate change emergency.

So, what makes our small community environment so complex? All the above.

If the weather stays hot and dry, we will need your continuing help to educate those unaware of the risks, and we will need your ongoing vigilance to report fires or smoke immediately through the 911 system. That early call is critical to prevent wildfires.

The British Columbia Fire Code requires that homes, recreational cabins, and other domiciles with sleeping rooms be protected with smoke alarms. It is the law. It is also the right thing to do to protect those you love. I hope you all had a safe and fun summer and I want to thank you for keeping our community safe.


Fire Chief Charlie Boyte

Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
No permit is required
Regulations apply

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911


250 629-3321


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