OPINION: Fire ban in place but we keep burning

We are all responsible for the safety and wellbeing of our communities.

Sooke has been operating under a fire ban since May 10.

This means fireworks, grass fires, and burning of materials are all prohibited. Small campfires are still permitted.

This ban has been brought about because of the unusually warm spring and the fear of a much warmer summer. You only need to look at northeastern B.C. and Alberta to see the devastating effects of forest fires.

Yet, some people in our community don’t get it.

In a mere 1½ weeks, Sooke Fire Rescue has responded to two grass fires and four burning complaints.

Those complaints came from people who noticed the flames and called 911. Who knows how many other fire were extinguished without the fire department’s assistance.

Each one of those incidents creates a wildfire hazard in and of it itself, of course.

But that’s not the only problem.

It’s a waste of human resources the district can ill afford right now – especially with a fire department that is short on personnel and relies heavily on volunteers.

To mitigate the risk, we need the common sense of Greater Sooke Area residents to stand on guard and watch and warn their friends and neighbours about the risk of fire, not just to our homes but our community.

Let’s make this really simple.

Don’t light any outdoor fires, except those that are permitted. None. No fire pits. No fireworks.

Don’t drop your cigarette butts (or your roaches) on the grass. Don’t flip them out the window. Don’t stub them out in a flower pot. Just don’t.

And if you see a fire? Call 911.

It is, quite literally, the least you can do to keep us all safe.

Please, don’t assume the rules don’t apply to you. This isn’t some evil government plot to strip you of your freedoms. We are all responsible for the safety and wellbeing of not only the forests but our communities. And none of us have time to clean up after the mess you make.