The Beaver Creek Volunteer Fire Department responded to a brush fire on Beaver Creek Road on Saturday, June 16. PHOTO COURTESY LAURY KRISTENSEN

The Beaver Creek Volunteer Fire Department responded to a brush fire on Beaver Creek Road on Saturday, June 16. PHOTO COURTESY LAURY KRISTENSEN

Heat wave hits Port Alberni

Open fires prohibited in Coastal Fire Region

It was hot last weekend and it will continue to be hot all across B.C. this week.

It’s particularly hot in Port Alberni, where thermometers hit 36 C in some places on Monday, June 18.

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for Vancouver Island on Monday, warning that temperatures away from the coast would reach the low thirties this week, which is about 10 degrees above average for the middle of June.

With rising temperatures, wildfire danger is also rising. Alberni Valley fire departments are reminding people that open fires are prohibited without a permit in the Coastal Fire Region, despite a rainy start to June. Campfire bans are not in effect at this time.

Beaver Creek volunteer firefighters had to put out a brush fire on June 17 when a resident on Beaver Creek Road mistakenly started a backyard burn, unaware that a restriction was in place.

“People really need to be aware,” said Beaver Creek Fire Department Deputy Chief Mike Kobus. “Just because we get a little rain doesn’t mean anything.”

The special weather statement has now been lifted, as the heatwave is expected to break on Thursday, but sunny and dry conditions will return on the weekend.

“This year it came early,” said Wes Hewitt of the Port Alberni Shelter Society.

Hewitt said Shelter Society outreach providers are prepared for the hot water with pallets of water bottles.

“We make sure that our clients are staying hydrated,” he said. “If somebody needs water…we generally have bottled water at any of our sites. People are always welcome to come in.” This includes the Shelter site on Eighth Ave, the Sobering Center on Fifth Avenue and the Shelter Outreach Centre on the corner of Bute St. and Third Ave.

The weather at this time of year, said Hewitt, can be especially hard on seniors.

“The ones we really have to worry about are our seniors,” he said. “If any of your family, friends or neighbours are seniors, make sure that they’re getting water and that people are checking on them.”

City director of public works Wilf Taekema also said that the city is considering watering restrictions. The details will be released later this week.

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

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