Fire and water: we’re not out of the woods yet

While watering restrictions in the Cowichan Valley have been relaxed a bit, we still can’t go crazy and just let the hoses flow.

While watering restrictions in the Cowichan Valley have been relaxed a bit, we still can’t go crazy and just let the hoses flow.

While the recent weather, with cooler temperatures and, most importantly, some rain, has taken the edge off of the drought we’ve suffered most of the summer, we still need to be careful about our consumption and note that we’re only back to Stage 2 water restrictions, not off water restrictions entirely.

So it’s still a good idea to refrain from that big power washing project, even though the grass is already greening up again.

We need to continue to think before we use.

We also need to think before we burn, because while the ban on open burning put in place by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has been lifted, most in the Cowichan Valley are still not free to light up the pile in the backyard.

All of North Cowichan and the Cowichan Valley’s electoral areas A, B, C, D and E are only allowed to burn between mid-October and mid-November.

And if you live in the City of Duncan, Town of Ladysmith or Town of Lake Cowichan you’re not allowed to burn in the backyard at all, at any time of year.

Yet as soon as we got the tiniest amount of rain, even before the ban was lifted in the Coastal Fire Centre, we personally observed several people within the areas under restrictions flouting the law and sending up columns of smelly, polluting smoke. No big surprise that the folks that have such little regard for the rules also don’t have much regard for making sure their materials to be burned aren’t going to choke out the neighbours and anyone who happens to be passing by.

But it’s still disappointing.

We have long endorsed the idea that every area in the CVRD should move towards the total ban on backyard burning in place in Duncan, Ladysmith and Lake Cowichan. Our air quality here is a problem.

But we’re especially unhappy to see folks lighting up outside of the specified burning windows when, in truth, our landscapes are barely damp after such a long period with no rain.

So put the matches away.