Chief Charlie Boyte's report for October 2017

Michael Boyle

The Penders’ vigilant islanders deserve a pat on the back for a wildfire safe summer despite extremely dry conditions. PIFR did respond to one roadside fire caused by a goose and one brush fire caused by a downed hydro line. We took a bit of ribbing over the cooked goose, but both fires had the potential to threaten homes and property. Thanks to an aware community, the 911 call was made early, the fire areas were readily accessible and could be extinguished.

Many of our friends and neighbours in the Interior were not so lucky. Our hearts are with them as they put their lives back together. To my knowledge, no lives were lost despite more than a million hectors of forest burning violently for months. We were very fortunate to be able to help in a province-wide mutual aid effort.

Here on the Penders we initiated proven fire prevention programs including: the Swartz Bay Ferry Program, butt cups issued to cars with smokers, a “No Tossed Butts” campaign, free personal pocket ashtrays, strict controls on hazardous work in and around the forest, and personal and corporate responsibility reinforced through a permit system designed to keep our economy moving.

We limited risk through proactive burning controls and constant monitoring of weather indicators. We can’t let our guard down quite yet, but if we stay vigilant we can keep our islands free from wildfires.

There has been no shortage of work for our volunteers this year. By Sept. 18th PIFR had responded to 242 calls compared to 210 in 2016, a 15 per cent increase.

Our great community reduces the burden on our volunteers by providing equipment, training and support. “Many hands make light work” and our support crew program does that nicely.

We need about a dozen new responding volunteers. If you are a potential candidate please give Deputy Chief Mike Dine a call at 250-629-3321 or 250-537-0101. You do not need to know a thing about firefighting or emergency response to make that call. We provide leading-edge training that will challenge you physically and intellectually. If you are honest, caring and fit – female or male – we will teach you all you need to know.

Fire Prevention week is Oct. 8th to 14th with our annual open house on the 14th at Fire Hall #1 across from the Community Hall. Look for the full-page ad in this Pender Post, one of four PIFR advertisements in this month’s issue. This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is “Every second counts: Plan two ways out.” On the 14th there will be free fire extinguisher inspections, hall tours, information sessions and we will showcase the investment you have made in the training ground.

Check the ad in the Pender Post for details about the Magic Lake Exit Meeting on Oct. 3rd. This year we hope to see two ways out of Magic Lake Estates.

Also check the ad about our Halloween event. This year we will sponsor the bonfire and costume parade and serve up hot dogs at the Community Hall. This event is designed to gather our children in a safe location after they have finished “trick or treating.” It is an excellent opportunity to meet and support the islands’ little ghosts and goblins. In the 46 years PIFR has been sponsoring this event we have never had a child injury. Join us in support of Pender youth and enjoy a spooktacular event.

Please note: Outdoor burning permits are required from Oct. 1st to 31st. After that and until April 1st you may burn without a permit in accordance with the bylaw (fires of less than two meters in diameter and one meter high). Please respect your neighbours when burning.

Permits will be available online by following the link on this website’s homepage. If you have an incinerator permit confirm the date is valid; ensure the incinerator is in good condition and the area clear of combustibles. Do not burn garbage or prohibited materials and never light a fire outdoors when the “No Fires Anywhere Signs” are posted.

Please remember working smoke alarms save lives. Until next month stay safe.


Fire Chief Charlie Boyte

Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
No permit is required
Regulations apply


Scott Elliott

Fire Fighter 2
Technical Rescue

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911


250 629-3321


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