Campfire. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media - File)

EDITORIAL: Fire demands respect, not disregard

Port Alberni’s fire crews are headed toward a record season, no thanks to bush fires

British Columbia’s extreme fire danger hit close to home when a wildfire sparked on Mt. Hayes near Ladysmith last week.

The fire grew from 40 hectares to 70 hectares overnight, and people living around Sproat Lake were reminded of the Dog Mountain fire from 2015 that burned too close for comfort.

Vancouver Island was put under a Level 5 drought advisory a week ago, prompting many regions to up their water restrictions. The fire danger has been listed as extreme for a number of weeks now, and headlines are filled with the 250 or so fires that have been burning in the province—especially in the Okanagan.

Despite the messaging, despite the extreme fire danger, people continue to throw cigarette butts out their car windows, they continue to light campfires and they continue to disrespect conditions.

Between fighting a higher than usual number of outdoor fires in the Alberni Valley this summer, and taking equipment and shifts to help fight wildfires in the Okanagan, our firefighters have been extremely busy.

They are on course to break a record for busiest year in at least the past six; of the more than 1,200 calls they have answered since January, 116 of them have been for brush fires or backyard fires.

How they haven’t burned out themselves is some kind of miracle.

It’s time to give them a break and follow the fire bans. Keep the backyard campfires cold and don’t toss your cigarette butts.

It will be rainy and cold soon enough.

— Alberni Valley News

Alberni ValleyB.C. Wildfires 2021