Fire officials issue stark warnings ahead of Victoria Day long weekend

Fire officials issue stark warnings ahead of Victoria Day long weekend

If you’re planning on heading outdoors this long weekend, fire officials have a warning: Be careful.

Friday was another day full of sun and heat across Vancouver Island, with temperatures reaching the high 20s in some places. With each passing day like this, the forests are getting drier and drier.

There have already been dozens of brush fires this year, and all of them were caused by people.

The fire danger rating is currently fluctuating between “moderate” and “high,” and while campfires are still permitted, the Coastal Fire Centre is urging the public to exercise caution.

“Human-caused wildfires are completely preventable and actually divert critical resources away from naturally caused fires,” said Coast Fire Centre spokesperson Kimberly Kelly.

Officials at the Coastal Fire Centre in Parksville advise that everyone should check with local bylaws to see if any restrictions are in place, adding that fires can’t be more than half a metre high and half a metre wide and they must have a fireguard around them.

“There should also be at least eight litres of water or a shovel nearby if required, and stay with the fire until it’s completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch,” added Kelly. “And never leave it unattended.”

There are also ongoing Category 2 and Category 3 prohibitions across Vancouver Island.

That means no backyard or industrial burning is allowed.

There is also a ban on fireworks, sky lanterns, burn barrels or burn cages, (of any size or description), binary exploding targets and air curtain banners.

All of these prohibitions are in effect until further notice.

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Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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