There is not much that can compare with a summer spent on Vancouver Island, we are fortunate to have oceans and lakes, and forests to explore and enjoy. The Island is also a leading tourist destination hosting people from all over the world who want to adventure in places we are so lucky to experience on a daily basis.
With that in mind, it is important to acknowledge the trending forecast warnings predicted by The Weather Network in their annual summer outlook forecast for Canada. The report indicates that this summer will be warmer than last summer, with the hottest weather expected over western Canada.
This is a very concerning prediction considering that last year’s record-breaking wildfires burned more than 1.2 million hectares.
In total, over 1,300 wild fires engulfed the province between April and November 2017, and resulted in thousands of families having to evacuate from their homes and communities. The estimated cost of responding to the wildfires was more than $564 million.
Additionally, in July 2017 the Province issued a state of emergency and required extending that state of emergency four times, resulting in the longest state of emergency in the province’s history lasting for a total of 10 weeks.
Here on the Coast, the Coastal Fire Center recorded 126 wildfires in the summer of 2017. Of those, 117 were human caused while the other 9 were caused by lightening. This is a startling reminder that we are all responsible in keeping our forests, our families and our community’s safe by obeying fire bans, and remaining vigilant.
We ask the public to join us and ensure that we all exercise caution and reduce the risk of human-caused wildfires by obeying fire bans and becoming educated in the many preventative measures we can take while enjoying the summer and the beautiful outdoors.
Reporting a Fire
If you spot a wildfire, or someone engaging in hazardous behaviours such as ignoring fire bans or throwing cigarette butts, report the activity immediately to the BC Wildfire Service at 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 from a cell phone.
Campfires are a favourite for summer gatherings. Follow this check-list to ensure that your campfire is not creating a wildfire hazard:
- Never have a campfire when it’s windy
- Always ensure you extinguish your campfire by pouring plenty of water on the fire and surrounding area
- Campfire regulations in BC state that campfires are never to be left unattended
- Always follow bans and restrictions put in place when a high fire danger rating is in effect
All-Terrain-Vehicles and dirt bikes also pose a risk when hot exhaust pipes contact dry grass areas which can ignite a spark and cause a wildfire. If there is a high danger fire rating in your area consider another sport activity, like mountain biking, hiking or swimming.
Comply with open burning bans or restrictions and municipal bylaws that apply to your area.
And remember, fire can escape easily if winds picks up. Monitor the weather and always have plenty of water on hand to douse the fire.
All too often we hear of fires related to the careless disposal of cigarettes. Please extinguish cigarettes butts and dispose of them safely. Consider butting-out in a water-filled ashtray.
Illegal and irresponsible disposal of cigarette butts are finable offences at a minimum of $575.
Report careless behaviour as soon as it is seen, this can save forests and lives.
At TimberWest we are fire prepared and fire-ready to ensure that we are acting in the best interests of our communities and land. We commit to working collaboratively towards wildfire prevention. We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer.