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Langley Township fire chief urges people to use extra caution due to extreme fire danger

Open burning is banned in the community
The Coastal Fire Centre coverage area. The red areas show where campfires and other fires are currently banned on public and private land.

The Langley Township Fire Department is encouraging the public to be extra cautious to help prevent fires, releasing a list of steps people can take to make the community safer.

The Coastal Fire Centre rates the Fraser region has high to extreme fire danger.

During the extreme hot and dry weather, the Township of Langley Fire Department is asking residents to be vigilant when in local parks and forested areas.

“When smoking materials have been tossed away carelessly, a fire can ignite in an instant. Dispose of smoking materials properly and make sure they are fully extinguished,” said Township fire chief Jason de Roy.

Do not smoke in parks, and never toss smoking materials from vehicle windows, onto the ground, or into flowerbeds, trees, cedars or bark mulch. As well, people are asked to report any signs of smoke or fire by calling 9-1-1.

“Follow these simple tips to enjoy the hot weather and help prevent brush and grass fires,” he said.

• Do not smoke in parks, on trails or in forested areas.

• Never dispose of smoking materials from vehicle windows or on the ground.

• Do not dispose of smoking materials in flower beds and bark mulch beds which can catch fire.

• Use large, deep, non-tip ashtrays to prevent ashes from falling onto combustible materials.

• Be aware of all spark and fire sources.

“Motorized vehicles, particularly all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and dirt bikes can produce a significant amount of heat from their exhaust systems,” de Roy noted. “This heat can be enough to spark a wildfire. Avoid operating any motorized vehicle in tall grass and vegetation when the weather is hot and dry.”

• Relocate combustible debris at least 10 metres away from the home.

• Allow all lawn and farm equipment to cool before storing away.

• Ensure vehicle’s exhaust does not emit onto a dry lawn.

• Reduce the amount of potential outdoor fuel present around the house, prune shrubs, remove dead and dry vegetation leading to the home.

• Report any active or smoldering fires by calling 9-1-1.

The Coastal Fire Centre is reporting that the wildfire season has started six weeks early in B.C. There have been 410 fires so far this year, including 13 in the last 24 hours (as of Friday afternoon, June 9). Of those 410 fires, 41 were caused by lightning with 33 caused by people. Of the eight fires burning in the Coastal Fire Centre jurisdiction, all were caused by humans.

So far 1,307 hectares have burned. The 10-year average for fire activity by early June is 285 hectares. Last year by this time, the figure was 30 hectares.

As of Thursday, June 8, campfires are prohibited throughout the Coastal Fire Centre on all public and private lands.

In addition to open fires being prohibited, the following activities and equipment are also restricted:

• Fireworks,
• Sky lanterns,
• Burn barrels or burn cages of any size or description,
• Binary exploding targets,
• Air curtain burners,
• Tiki and similar kind of torches, and
• Chimineas.

The prohibition does not include the use of outdoor stoves. As per the Wildfire Regulation, an outdoor stove is a CSA-rated or ULC-rated device used outdoors for cooking, heat or ambiance that burns charcoal briquettes, liquid fuel or gaseous fuel, and has a flame height that is less than 15 centimetres tall.

It doesn’t look like the fire situation will improve anytime soon as warm, dry conditions will continue. Despite cooler temperatures and some rain in the forecast, amounts are not expected to be helpful, according to the Coastal Fire Centre. The sun returns Saturday afternoon and is expected to stick around for the better part of next week.


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Heather Colpitts

About the Author: Heather Colpitts

Award-winning reporter and photographer Heather Colpitts has spent her career working at community newspapers, starting in 1992
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