Total Fire Ban after August 4

The BC Wildfire Service has spoken, and as of noon on August 4, there will be a complete fire ban. Wood-fired campfires will no longer be permitted.

CSA or UL-certified propane fire appliances and briquette barbecues will still be allowed. To report a fire, call the fire hall during business hours at 250.335.2611 or the fire patrol after hours at 250.703.1792

Campfires

Backyard burns are done for the season, but for now, campfires are still allowed. Here are some guidelines on how to enjoy an evening beach fire without creating a hazard to yourself or others:

This fire takes the prize for worst location (so far) in 2022.
  • Use one of the supplied fire rings if available. The rings are a good indicator of a safe campfire’s size and keep the fires in the same locations over the summer. This helps prevent the entire beach from becoming a charred mess.
  • Extinguish your fire with water. Water is the only way to ensure the fire is out. Covering the fire with sand traps the heat, fills the rings, and creates a burnt feet hazard.
  • Place your fire away from combustible materials. Building a fire against the logs, on the forest floor, or in the bark mulch zone increases the likelihood that it will escape.
  • Do not throw garbage into the fire. It may look as though the fire will consume everything it touches, but those who patrol the beach in the mornings continually pull cans, bottles, and half-burned plastic things out of the fire pits. Please take that stuff back off of the beach with you.

New Panic Button

We have added a new way of calling for help. If you are near the fire hall experiencing an emergency and need assistance, you can hit the new panic button at our front door. The button is tied into our monitored alarm system and will result in a duty officer being paged for an unknown emergency at the fire hall.

Response time will be 5-15 minutes. There are no sounds or flashing lights indicating that anything is happening, but the messages and pages happen very quickly.

Heavy Vehicle Incident

This morning a concrete mixer ended up on its side on Central Road. The incident happened when the driver moved the truck to the right of the road, concerned about oncoming traffic. The very soft shoulder grabbed his tire, sloughed away and put him into a deep ditch. No injuries were reported.

Two minor oil leaks into the ditch were mitigated by fire crews and no environmental damage occurred. Company representatives were on scene within an hour to organize a vehicle extraction operation, including an environmental hazard response team on scene. Our appreciation goes out to the ready-mix company for their incredibly quick, environmentally responsible, and compassionate response.

To anyone held up by the road closure, thanks for your patience.

Promotions

One of my favourite parts of this job is advancing rookies up to the rank of firefighter. That event usually follows two years of training, six hours of practical exams, and a two-hour written test. The practical exam covers portable pump operations and troubleshooting, deploying attack lines, putting equipment back in service, ropes, knots, hoisting, ladders, and many other skills.

I’m pleased to announce that Innes Hood, Alex Ortwein, and Ian Graboski have been promoted to “firefighter”. Their commitment to our team and our island community is inspiring.

Newest Addition to the Fleet

We were fortunate to be approved to receive a $12,000 grant from the Red Cross for community resilience. We took advantage of that grant by purchasing a new cargo trailer to store and transport our structure protection equipment.

We can use this equipment to protect houses in the path of an oncoming wildfire and includes things like sprinklers, hoses, pumps, fittings, and portable ponds. The trailer can be taken to a neighbourhood, and the equipment deployed to prevent structures from being set on fire by sparks and firebrands.

There will be a bunch of work to build shelving and custom storage racks, but we hope to have it fully in service by the summer fire season. It will spend its time here on Hornby but could be deployed for short periods to help out our neighbours on Denman, or in extreme cases, on Vancouver Island.

Big thanks to the Red Cross, the Fire Chiefs’ Association of BC, and the CVRD staff for helping with the application and licensing process.