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Dry weather increases risk of fires across province



Whistler water supplies still okay

The Coastal Fire Centre instituted a campfire ban as of Thursday, July 31 in all of B.C.’s crown land due to the hot and dry weather. The ban is in effect until further notice.

Coastal Fire Centre information officer Donna MacPherson said that so far there have been not been a lot of forest fires caused by campfires this summer, but the weather has become a lot drier and increased the risk.

"We’re concerned that the potential for a catastrophic fire is here, and we don’t want any starts," she said.

"One of the things we can do to prevent human-caused starts is to put a campfire ban in place. We don’t need anything starting right now."

Whistler is currently at a high risk rating for forest fires and as a result campfires are currently banned in the municipality and barbecues have been removed from the local parks.

Whistler Fire and Rescue Service Chief Rob Whitton said that given the weather that Whistler is experiencing, the potential for a fire to travel quickly is quite significant.

"Whistler is in what is known as an urban interface zone, where the urban sprawl is closely situated to the forest area," he said.

Whitton said that protecting your home in the event of a forest fire is about preparing your property ahead of the incident.

"Once it happens it is a bit difficult to gain that ground," he said.

Brochures on how to minimize the risks to your property in the event of a fire can be obtained from the Whistler Fire and Rescue Service.

He said that Whistler has adequate water at the moment in the event of a fire.

Marvin Fisher, manager of utilities for the Resort Municipality of Whistler, said that Whistler’s reservoir levels are monitored daily and as of Wednesday the current ground and surface water levels are fine.

"We had a look at the snowpack by helicopter on the 21st t of this month, and it’s above average and we are still getting run-off," he said.

"However, if our reservoir levels start to get down to minimum fire-fighting requirements, I will introduce the next level of water restrictions, and we are prepared to do that," he said.

The first level of water restrictions is currently in effect. Sprinkling is limited to two days a week. Houses with even numbered addresses may do so on Wednesdays and Saturdays and odd numbered addresses on Thursdays and Sundays.

Watering times are limited to between 4 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on those days.

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