Wildfire risk increasing on Vancouver Island as temperatures go up

WatchHot and dry weather is settling into most parts of Vancouver Island, which also means a higher risk of wildfires.

Most of Vancouver Island has a fire danger rating of moderate to high, but that’s continuing to change as the dry stretch continues.

“Yeah we’re going to go up to high tomorrow and I’ll probably put another request out to our on-call staff to see who is available if we do get to extreme so we can staff our wild-land truck,” said Dashwood Fire Chief Nick Acciavatti.

He and his crew were called to an unattended beach fire early Monday and says if the dry hot weather continues, that sort of thing could become a real problem.

“We put about 500-600 gallons of water on it and spent about an hour digging around and trying to put it out so there is a lot of tall dry grass in the area but we are still kind of early in the season,” said Acciavatti. “You know if this was in August, it might be a different story that it could potentially take off into some of the homes in the area.”

The Nanoose Bay Fire Department responded to a large grass fire in a farmer’s field Sunday. It took crews two-and-a-half hours to put it out.

But all in all, it’s been a very quiet fire season so far and on the Vancouver Island, you have to go back to mid-April when two wildfires burned north of Campbell River. Since the,  it’s very quiet on the fire front

Monday’s hot weather saw temperatures hit the low 30s in Port Alberni, so the risk is increasing again.

“So if you’re having any type of open fire yourself in the next few days, limit yourself to the size if you can,” said Donna MacPherson, fire information officer at the Coastal Fire Centre. “Make sure you stand beside it, never leave it alone and most importantly have a way to put it out if it gets away from you. So that’s something like a shovel and rake and good water supply.”

Beginning Friday at noon the Coastal Fire Centre is prohibiting any fire larger than a campfire, along with fireworks, sky lanterns and burning barrels.

Prohibitions are in effect outside local government bylaws.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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