Hot weather brings higher fire hazard

  • Jul. 27, 2009 7:00 p.m.

Unusually warm and dry weather, combined with strong winds, pushed the fire hazard rating for Haida Gwaii to high on Monday. Louis Bourcet, compliance and enforcement supervisor at the Ministry of Forests, said with the hot weather expected to continue for the rest of the week, no one should be lighting fires other than small campfires. “It’s just too dry to have those backyard burns any more,” he said Monday afternoon, as the islands sweltered in their third straight day of sunshine. “Nobody should be land clearing or debris burning.” Mr. Bourcet said that while campfires are allowed, people should take care that these fires are built in a safe place, well contained, and completely extinguished before they leave the site. The forest service has received reports of people coming across beach fires that have not been put out. “People are walking away and leaving their campfires,” he said. “The beach logs and all the beach vegetation is extremely dry right now.” Mr. Bourcet said that while the islands are not a tinderbox like the Okanagan area, it’s important to make sure there are no forest fires here partly because most of the province’s firefighting resources are already busy in the interior. There is no longer a fire hazard rating sign outside the forest service office, but Mr. Bourcet said people can get the latest information about the hazard rating and fire bans by checking the Ministry of Forests’s website. To report a fire, call 1-800-663-5555.