Flames attack the hillside in Bonney Lake on Sept. 8, 2020. (East Pierce Fire & Rescue photo)

Editorial: Put away the fireworks: fire danger rising

Last week an open burning ban came into effect for the Coastal Fire Centre

As we continue to endure this heat wave our thoughts turn to one of the big dangers of this hot, dry weather: wildfires.

Several fires are burning in the Interior of B.C. as we head into Canada Day. On Vancouver Island so far things have been quiet on that front, but no doubt with people beginning to head off on summer vacations that take them into the bush and forests that will start to change, as it seems to every year. Yet every year we still hold out hope that people will heed the warnings and do their part to keep our skies clear and smoke-free, and our lands un-charred.

Last week an open burning ban came into effect for the Coastal Fire Centre, of which we are a part here in Cowichan.

That means no fires bigger than two metres in height by three metres wide. But for celebratory purposes that also means no fireworks, no sky lanterns, no binary exploding targets, and no burn barrels or cages. These restrictions apply to all public and private land unless otherwise specified in a local government bylaw. So put away those July 1 fireworks.

Campfires were also banned as of Wednesday, as the area began to emerge from the crushing heat wave that saw record high temperatures hit the Cowichan Valley. It’s little surprise that in weather of 42 C, everything has dried to a crisp.

You should also beware of using ATVs that may cause sparks (for that matter, keep any eye on your gardening and renovation equipment), and this definitely isn’t the time to discard your cigarette butts willy-nilly. (Of course you shouldn’t be dropping your cigarette butts anywhere but a proper receptacle anyway, otherwise it’s littering.)

Wildfires are miserable to try to put out once they have started, especially when the temperatures soar and there’s no rain in sight, so it’s vitally important that we do everything we can to prevent ignition.

A little extra care can safeguard our beautiful outdoors, and also our homes and our lives. Well worth it, don’t you think?