HIFR is proud to be able to send two of our senior firefighters to help with structure protection in the wildfire events in the BC interior. Quana Parker and Sasha LeBaron will be serving as part of a structure protection unit staffed by our friends at Oyster River Fire Rescue and commanded by Chief Bruce Green. They will be leaving on Tuesday and will be staged out of 150 Mile House for their seven-day tour.
This is an exciting opportunity for our two fire fighters to gain valuable wild land fire management experience in a live incident environment. We are looking forward to the stories, skills, and knowledge that they will bring back and share with the rest of the department. With no respite in the weather forecast there is a good chance that two more Hornby firefighters may get the nod for a future tour to the interior.
Join us in wishing Sasha and Quana the best of luck in their deployment. Thank you for answering the call. You are making us proud.
HIFR has been pretty busy over the last few weeks. Despite the extreme fire hazard and the hundreds of fires elsewhere in the province, all of our calls have been medical. That doesn’t mean that we can let our guard down, though. I’ve heard of three recent local incidents that could have resulted in a fairly large scale response.
Around the time that the fire hazard went to extreme, I got a call from a resident whose chainsaw exhaust set fire to the log he was bucking up. He had water standing by and was able to extinguish it himself, but the event was an eye-opener into how easily things catch on fire in these conditions.
An HIFR member was driving by another resident’s workshop when he smelled smoke. As he was investigating, flames began licking out of the floorboards of the shop. The fire was most likely caused by a blob of hot steel that came from a welding job over an hour earlier. He was able to put out the fire with an extinguisher and saved the shop before any significant damage occurred and before the fire spread to the nearby forest.
A BC Hydro employee who happens to be a volunteer with Chemainus Fire was following another vehicle along a Hornby driveway with tall grass down the center. The exhaust system of the car ahead of her lit the tall grass on fire without the driver noticing. Our volunteer was carrying a fire extinguisher in her vehicle and was able to put out the grass fire before it spread to the field beside the driveway.
Here are some takeaways from those events:
Carry an extinguisher
Avoid using chainsaws or other high fire-risk tools
Keep the driveway grass short (use a nylon string trimer)
HIFR is asking people to please refrain from using chainsaws and other small engines that have potential for generating sparks.
Professional fallers and other forestry professionals are exempt from this as they are covered under the forestry act. They are required, however, to do a thorough assessment of the conditions, establish a fire suppression system, and may be responsible for any damages caused by a fire that they start.
The province puts out a really great booklet with things that a homeowner can do to increase the chances of your home surviving a wildfire event. There are some pretty easy steps you can take that will have a large impact on keeping your home unscathed.
Click on the image to the left to have a look at the electronic version.
In Tues afternoon, Quana and I accompanied representatives from North Island 911 and North Island Communications to the top of Mount Geoffrey to inspect the 911 tower. With this tower serving as the radio repeater for the entire Comox Valley South area it needs an inspection every few years.
A solar panel charges a battery bank which runs the radio transceiver. It’s a simple installation which has run flawlessly since it’s installation almost 20 years ago. A battery swap and new antenna is being planned for next spring.
With many of the Coastal Fire Region fire fighters deployed to the interior, some may be wondering what happens when fires break out in our region. This release from the provincial ministry talks about that and also provides some insight into how initial attacks take place.
Tonight is your last night to enjoy a campfire as the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource have closed all open burning as of noon on Thursday the 6th of July. Starting on Thursday evening only propane campfires will be allowed.
Call the fire hall at 250.335.2611 or the fire patrol at 250.703.1792 if you have any questions or concerns.
Forestry crews are battling two fires fairly close to home. There is a big one at Harrison Lake (pictured to the right)and a smaller one at the bottom of Blackcomb Mountain. Both were human started.
The grass up on Mount Geoffrey is still green but things are starting to get a crispy. Safe and small campfires are still allowed but please use caution. If there is an onshore wind then consider a campfire at one of the beaches on the other side of the island. Be safe!
Albini, Scott, Sasha, and Quana installed four new fire rings on the non-park section of Tribune Bay beach today. The rings have been proven to be an excellent way to keep the beach fires in the same locations. They also limit the size of the campfires and reduce the chance of fires spreading into the logs at the head of the beach.
The Fire Patrol crew is out every night during the summer investigating fire concerns and making sure that everyone is enjoying a safe camp fire. If someone appears vulnerable due to intoxication at a beach gathering our Fire Patrol often provides a helping hand. They carry Naloxone kits and have the training to administer them.
It’s not an easy job but the relationship building and the public education that Albini, Scott, and Quana bring make it look effortless.
We use the Forest Fire Danger forecasting station at Bowser for our region as it’s the closest one to us. If anything, Bowser is a bit more damp that Hornby and the forecasts are calling for the danger class to move to “high” on Monday. If that happens, we will be closing the season for backyard burns and any open permits will be cancelled, including any category 3 permits.
Safe campfires will still be allowed. Click the poster to learn what makes a safe campfire.