Fire season has already started in parts of B.C. and Deputy Chief Matt Barney of the Sooke Fire Rescue Department is cautioning people to follow the rules and treat fire with respect.
“We haven’t had anything in the past little while, and right now our fire risk is still listed as moderate. But you can expect that to change pretty quickly,” said Barney.
“With drier weather and these winds we’ve been having resulting in a drying effect on the vegetation, I can see us with a high fire risk rating fairly soon.”
When that happens, he added, it’s particularly important to follow the rules regarding fire safety.
“Even now, there is no open burning allowed in our area and that includes the burning of any yard waste, beach fires, and backyard fire pits.”
And, although campfires are still allowed, they must be kept to a reasonable size within a two-foot diameter approved enclosure made of metal or concrete.
“There are other common-sense precautions with campfires as well,” said Barney.
“You should never use an accelerant like gas or camp fuel to light a fire (that’s actually illegal) and flammable materials should never be stored anywhere near the campfire.”
He added that it’s important to have a water source of fire extinguisher on hand just in case an ember causes a sport fire outside the campfire enclosure.
Barney noted that with all of the exposure that summer wildfires have had in the media, the public has become more educated and respectful when handling fires, but that there will always be some people who fail to follow common sense rules.
“We’re still going to see someone who discards smoking material without thinking it can cause a fire, of others who leave their campfire unattended, thinking it will burn itself out,” said Barney.
“Those are the people we still need to reach.”
Current fire danger ratings are always available at www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/wildfire-situation/fire-danger.