Fire Season will soon be upon us

Fire Season will soon be upon us says MLA Donna Barnett.

Fire season will soon be upon us and I think this is a good opportunity to reflect on past destruction and remember what we can do to prevent forest fires.

First and foremost, it should be known that  there currently is an Open Fire Ban for the Cariboo region. Effective April 2, the size of fires within the Cariboo region has been restricted. This prohibits:

The burning of any waste, slash or other materials (piled or unpiled) at a size larger than one metre by one metre.

The burning of more than two open fires of any size at the same time.

Stubble or grass fires of any size over any area.

We’re all aware of the dangers of forest fires. People can lose their homes. Beautiful forests can be destroyed. Helpless animals killed or displaced. The destruction and suffering can have no end. But this also is something that costs taxpayers in a huge way.

B.C. has spent $402.6 million fighting fires in the past three fire seasons:  $66.7 million in 2011, $220 million in 2010 and $115.9 million in 2009.

We were very fortunate to have had a mild fire season last year, but we know all too well the potential horrors.  Here are some useful fire safety tips:

Check with authorities to find out if there are restrictions in your area.

Consider wind conditions. If the wind is strong enough to carry sparks to combustible material, do not burn.

Keep fires at a reasonable distance away from any flammable materials or structures.

Keep camping fires small – the best cooking fire is small and hot.

Keep a shovel and at least eight litres of water nearby in case the fire escapes.

Never leave a camp fire unattended.

Extinguish fires by stirring water into the ashes until it is cold to the touch – hot coals can reignite fires.

If you need help planning your burning activities, contact the Cariboo Wildfire Management Branch Fire Centre at (250) 989-2600.