Fire Chief Steven Sorensen tweeted out, “Fire danger level in Leech watershed area and #Sooke Potholes area now at EXTREME fire danger level. Remaining area at HIGH and climbing.”
According to BCWildFire.ca, Extreme means “Extremely dry forest fuels and the fire risk is very serious. New fires will start easily, spread rapidly, and challenge fire suppression efforts. General forest activities may be restricted, including open burning, industrial activities and campfires.”
Following are a few suggestions of what we can do to help prevent human-caused fires. Generally, avoid backyard fires, don’t intentionally burning grass, and if you do have a campfire, properly and completely extinguish it.
Prevent Wildfires, from the WildFire Management Branch
Many fires occur in spring and early summer when human activity increases. Grass burning and spring cleanup fires occasionally escape control and result in wildfires. When summer arrives, the number of people in the woods increases and as they travel, recreationalists can accidentally cause fires.[sam id=”15″ codes=”true”]The number of escaped fires resulting from backyard burning can be reduced by adhering to safe burning practices. People doing backyard burning must have hand tools, water and enough people on hand to keep the fire in check. Fires must not be lit or allowed to continue to burn when the wind is strong enough to cause sparks to be carried to other combustible material or when a notice banning or restricting the use of open fire is in effect.
Grass fires are a major concern for fire fighters. Grass fires that get out of control can cause serious damage. People must remember to place a firebreak around the perimetre of the fire area. Fires can escape easily if a wind picks up. Fires that get away can quickly engulf fences, power poles and buildings and can also spread to neighbouring property or forested areas.
Careless use of campfires is one of the leading causes of forest fires. When building a campfire, select your campsite carefully. Prepare your campfire by removing all leaves, twigs and other flammable material from the area. Choose a proper fire pit or make a ring of rocks at least three metres from trees, shrubs, structures and debris. Don’t leave a campfire unattended, and do keep a pail of water close by at all times. Be certain your campfire is completely extinguished before you go to bed or leave the area. Pour water on the fire and douse the site thoroughly. Stir the campfire until there are no embers and the ashes are cold to the touch.[sam id=”17″ codes=”true”]Another cause of wildfires does not arise from accidents or carelessness, but from arson. Every year, arsonists throughout the province start fires that result in a high financial loss, as well as risk to property, homes, wildlife, and people. Arson is a crime and any knowledge of this activity should be reported.
A person may have permission to burn, but it could be the start of a forest fire. If a fire does get out of control, and the Forest Service is called in, the persons doing the burning may be responsible for fire fighting and other costs.
Other prevention considerations:
- Do not burn in windy conditions.
- Do not discard smoking materials from vehicles, use interior ashtrays.
- Lawn & farm equipment should have properly working spark arresters to prevent sparks from exiting through the exhaust pipes.
- All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) produce an enormous amount of heat and can ignite brush from their exhaust systems.
Wildfire prevention is about keeping fires from starting. When using fire in or near woods, be extremely careful. People are responsible for starting about half of the wildfires in British Columbia. Pay attention to your surroundings.
Report fire sightings or the smell of smoke to 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on cellular networks.
For more information, contact your local Fire Centre and ask to speak to the Fire Centre’s Prevention Specialist.
More Information on Open Fires:
- Stoves and Campfires
- Backyard Burning
- Industrial and Resource Management Burning
- Preventing Wildfires
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