A mid morning fire only a few feet away from the back wall of Shoppers Drug Mart, at the end of the vacant lot on Townsend Road, was quickly extinguished by Sooke fire fighters. A crew of five attended the fire before it could grow out of control.
A woman identified only as “Diane” said she alerted staff at Shoppers about a fire only a few feet away from their back wall. Shoppers then called it in.
According to Fire Chief Kenn Mount, the fire was a rubbish fire that was in likelihood started by transients (homeless people). He also noted that public engagement is critical for catching fires in their early stages. Should a member of the public detect smoke or a fire, please call it in. Don’t assume someone else will.
The Sooke fire station’s non-emergency line is 250-642-5422. The emergency number to call is 9-1-1. To report a wild fire, call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on your cell phone.
A challenge with the transient population (homeless) is communicating the severity of the current fire danger.
This vacant lot has seen frequent fire incidences over the past few years, including but by no means limited to the following:
- Sunday mid-day mid-town fire, May 22, 2016
- Grass fire on Townsend Rd, June 17 2015
- Another fire extinguished by Sooke fire fighters, July 6, 2015
At the last Council meeting, Chief Mount also spoke to the importance the having a preventative focus, as is set out by a program called FireSmart.
FireSmart is a national initiative to help property owners and communities understand the ways in which wildfire might threaten structures and property located in, and close to, forested and wildland areas, and the steps individuals and communities can take to reduce the susceptibility of buildings and property to fire.
- Clearing all plants and other vegetation from within 10m of a structure
- Ensuring that there are no trees or other vegetation overhanging the roof
- When planting new trees consider planting deciduous species such as birch and aspen
For other ways to protect your home, download the FireSmart Homeowner’s Manual or visit the FireSmart website.
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