Cartoon character Smokey the Bear’s slogan, “Only you can prevent forest fires,” is an accurate one.
So far this year, the Coastal Fire Centre has responded to 29 forest fires.
“Those 29 fires were all human caused,” Coastal Fire Centre fire information officer Margie Drysdale said.
The main piece of advice Drysdale has for helping prevent forest fires is for people to keep an eye on their cigarettes; a needless cause of many forest fires.
Be cautious of lighting fires, as there are currently some limitations in place.
“Open fires are in fact banned at this point, so it’s only campfires that are allowed,” CVRD Acting General Manager of Public Safety Sybille Sanderson cautioned.
Open burning has been banned, which includes the burning of any material piled or unpiled, smaller than two meters in height and three metres in width, including burning barrels. The ban also prohibits the burning of stubble or grass over an area less than 2,000 square metres.
The ban has been in place since mid May, and will stay in place until October 3 of this year, or until further notice.
Camp fires are currently not banned, but are to be no more than .5 metres high and wide.
Be mindful of the area you’re lighting camp fires in, Drysdale cautioned, and avoid areas with dry grass, and have a decent clearance space.
“We want it so if you have a spark it won’t go into the grass and start something,” she said.
“If summer ever comes, that’s likely to get banned too,” Sanderson said.
These bans are in place for the entirety of the Coastal Fire Centre, which makes up Vancouver Island, a number of additional islands, and the southern coast of BC.
More guidelines are available on the internet, at www.bcwildfire.ca.