The recent stretch of 30° C-plus weather in Pemberton has dramatically increased the risk of grass and brush fires. And with thunderstorms being predicted the threat could escalate even higher.
Thats the message from Village of Pemberton Councilor Richard Doucet, who is also a member of the Pemberton Fire Department.
"Grass fires are a great threat to private property," said Doucet. "Right now heat and dryness allow fires to move very fast. Its getting a little scary out there."
The PFD has attended two grass fires of undetermined origin within the village boundaries. Doucet would not speculate on the source of the fires, but did say that the current climate can make seemingly innocuous materials like pieces of metal or glass catalysts to sparking quick traveling grass fires. Both fires were quickly extinguished with little damage or threat to properties.
However, a third fire on Aug. 9 in the community of Walkerville, approximately nine km north of Pemberton, did put a residence at risk.
"The fire in Walkerville threatened the loss of a house," said Doucet. "The fire was moving swiftly up the cliff when we got there, but we were able to put it out without any damage occurring."
Doucet encourages people to take pro-active measures to minimize the risk.
"You should water down the area around your house. If you keep it green it wont burn," he said.
He advises people to water 10 metres around the perimeters of their home and remove any flammable materials, such as scrap or firewood, from around the exterior of the home. Doucet, who has spearheaded the VOPs fire safety initiatives, such as the recently implemented brush clearing efforts, also encourages people to become more educated about fire prevention by downloading a copy of the FireSmart booklet available through the Ministry of Forests at www.for.gov.bc.ca/protect.