The Prevention Connection


Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires

It is that time of year again the campers are pouring in, sun is shining and the fire danger is slowly creeping up. Every year the Lake Cowichan Fire Department responds to brush and wildfires near or in the town. Being an urban interface area where we border larges areas of forest, the danger is high that we could have significant damage should a wildfire make it into town. It was only several years ago that wild fire above the Tata Satellite station had water bombers and helicopters buzzing though the air as well as municipal fire crews, Ministry of Forests and other agencies on he ground fighting the fire this only being within 1700 meters from the nearest homes.

The most significant interface fire in the Province was the Okanogan Mountain Park fire in which 4050 persons were evacuated and 238 homes were lost and or damaged, another significant fire was the 2011 Slave Lake fire last year in Alberta which evacuated over 7000 thousand persons and destroyed 1/3 of the town; Just imaging loosing 1/3 of the town approximately everything on the north side of the car bridge it is just something we could not imagine. Even though many fires are caused by lightning on average most of the fires on Vancouver Island are Human caused and this is the case for the majority of large and significant fires in the Province of BC.

One of the first things you can do to prevent interface fires is to ensure you comply with all burning and open fire regulations in the Town or CVRD, as well as comply with all restrictions and bans. The second thing you can do is ensure your home is fire smart by following the Fire Smart manual, links to the information can be found on our website.

Several times a year LCFD responds to bush and road side fires caused by cigarette buts being discarded improperly, by persons out for a walk or driving down the road; if you are a smoker please ensures you dispose and extinguish your cigarettes in a safe and proper manner.

One of the most popular past times around the lake is sitting by the camp/cooking fire on a summers evening, although allowed in the Town of Lake Cowichan without a permit. Cooking fires as per the bylaw cannot have a surface area of greater than four square feet and must be contained in a fire pit; it is also required that there is adequate supervision and you are capable of extinguishing the fire. You must also comply with all campfire bans and can face fines for violation and you must never leave the fire with out adult supervision.

When extinguishing your campfire you need to extinguish your fire by stirring water into the ashes until it is cold to the touch, hot coals can reignite the fire. We at the Fire Department hope you enjoy your summer but please keep it beautiful and like Smokey the Bear Says “Only you Can Prevent Forest Fires!”