Dry conditions prompt fire ban for Sooke area

Fire chief bans all fires except in supervised areas

In light of an Extreme Fire Hazard rating, which has been in effect since Aug. 2, and forecasted heat wave, Sooke Fire Chief Steven Sorensen has issued an immediate burning ban.

The ban will call a halt to all burning and camp fires. The ban will extend to the Sooke Potholes due to extra dry conditions, limited access and evacuation routes.

The only exception will be camp fires on supervised camp grounds like Sunny Shores and the Sooke Flats.

“The camp sites are supervised and they don’t allow the fires to get big. They make sure that they’re put out,” Sorensen said.

“With this heat wave and everything, we just thought to hopefully prevent something before it happens.”

So far, there have been no major fires as the result of the fire hazard.

“We’ve had a few little camp fires and stuff that have been abandoned that we had to put out. Luckily they’ve been found before they amounted to something,” Sorensen said.

He said the dry conditions, which is common this time of year, is the result of an outflow of hot Okanagan weather that travels over the mountains and through the valleys into Sooke.

“That’s why we dry out, that and the wind.”

The burning ban will be in effect until a significant rainfall, lasting a couple days, lessens the hazard.

Sorensen advised residents to “use extreme caution” as Sooke is currently one of the driest places in the province.

“It doesn’t take much, just a discarded cigarette on the side of the road, and hitting a rock with your lawn mower can be enough to start a fire,” he said.