In EXTREME fire risk conditions fires will start very easily and spread very quickly. During these conditions it is simply too risky to take unnecessary chances.
PIFR is committed to ensure that the community remains safe from wildfires and that the economic impacts of work closures on jobs and projects are minimized through sound risk management principals.
The Fire Chief or designate has authority under CRD Bylaw 3452 to issue written permission to work during times of fire restrictions or closures. Permits may be issued providing suitable fire safety plans and prevention measures are implemented to mitigate the fire risks. Permits may be obtained from Fire Hall #1.
The following definitions are from CRD Bylaw 3452 and apply to work allowed during High or Extreme Fire conditions. Bylaw 3452 is supplementary to the Wildfire Act and Forest practices Code which must also be referenced prior to starting any work during High or Extreme fire conditions.
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The CRD Bylaw can be reviewed in full on the CRD website Bylaw 3452
When the threat of forest fire is high to extreme, the Wildfire Act places restrictions on a range of activities within 300 metres of forest land or grass land. These activities are wide ranging and include using chain saws, wood chipping and grass mowing.
Restrictions are set out according to the level of the fire risk and the duration of the risk.
Persons responsible for starting wildfires can be held responsible for all fire fighting costs ($1.2 million on Galiano Island in 2006) and are subject to fines up to $1 million dollars or to imprisonment of up to three years or both. Do the math and make sure you understand your responsibilities.
Contractors and other persons working on the land base are also subject to the forest fire prevention provisions of the Forest Practices Code.
To review your obligations under this Act, click here.
The Pender Island Fire Protection Society and the CRD Director endorse the Provincial "FireSmart" program which is designed to reduce the risks and consequences of a wildfire
When the fire risk is high activities that may start a fire must be completed before 1 p.m. each day. You should think about the sparks from exhaust, sparks from blades hitting rocks or other metal, friction and other sources of heat. You must have water available and ready, should a fire start. If you need to work with these tools use them in the mornings when the relative humidity and fuel moisture is highest and temperatures are cooler. You must stay on site and watch the area for smoke for two hours after you finish your work. If you do this, and have some water on hand you will not likely start a large fire.
The reason for 1 p.m. is simple: If a fire does start there is a much higher chance that it can be contained before dark if it is reported early in the day. Fires will grow in size after dark. It is extremely dangerous and sometimes impossible to fight fires in dense smoke and darkness. Water bombers and helicopters must return to base one hour before sunset. If it is windy a small fire could grow to involve most of Pender Island between sunset and dawn. We must have the time to contain fires in daylight or we may all be looking for another place to live.
In the fall, winter and spring there may be activity restrictions including:
After three consecutive days of "Moderate" fire threat, maintain a fire watcher after work for a minimum of one hour. Continue this until after the fire danger threat falls to "Low".