Thomson: Continued diligence needed on fire safety

Smoke is filling the skies, even in parts of B.C. that don’t normally see much fire activity.

There’s no escaping the reality of the wildfire situation in our province right now.

Evacuation orders and alerts have people scrambling to safety or preparing themselves to do so. Smoke is filling the skies, even in parts of B.C. that don’t normally see much fire activity.

Folks here in Kelowna might be used to the sight and smell of summer smoke, but in places like the Lower Mainland, it’s an eerie and unusual experience.

No matter where you live in B.C., your help is needed to prevent even more wildfire activity. The hot, dry weather conditions continue to present challenges to our firefighting crews, and the hazard rating remains ‘extreme’ in many areas.

Though it may seem a tiresome message, we can’t caution people enough to be extremely careful out there. That carelessly-tossed cigarette butt can put people’s lives and homes in danger. Campfire bans have also been implemented across the province, and it’s imperative that people follow the rules. If you see a wildfire or suspicious activity that could cause one, call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on your cell. You can also report online at www.bcwildfire.ca.

Those who fail to abide by the Wildfire Act, including open burning restrictions, can face a $345 fine. Anyone who causes damage to Crown forest or grass land through arson or recklessness can be fined up to $1 million or spend up to three years in prison.

You’re also encouraged to look after your own health, given that some regions have seen air quality advisories issued. If you see or smell smoke in the air, it’s probably best to avoid strenuous outdoor activities– especially for those of you with chronic underlying medical conditions. Staying indoors and in air-conditioned spaces helps to reduce your exposure to fine particulate.

Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying respiratory conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart disease. You can check the status of your area at www.bcairquality.ca.

All of these measures help support the firefighting crews and first responders, who are working tirelessly to keep people and property safe during this challenging time. I’d like to thank the dedicated men and women from B.C. and Ontario who are putting their own lives at risk on the front lines.

This wildfire season has already claimed the life of one member of our firefighting family. John Joe Phare, a contract tree faller, was killed while working on the Old Sechelt Mine wildfire. I’d like to extend my deepest sympathies to his family, friends and many colleagues.

This tragedy serves as a reminder of the inherent dangers associated with fighting wildfires—as well as the need for all British Columbians to do their utmost to prevent them in the first place.

Please do your part. Report wildfires and remember that campfires, open fires and fireworks are banned throughout B.C. Let’s all work together to protect our province, our people and our livelihoods.

Just Posted

UBCO Heat teams unable to secure any wins against Mount Royal Cougars

The mens and womens volleyball and basketball teams went 0-4, but all have rematches Saturday night

Rockets held scoreless in loss against Red Deer

Rockets will look for some points in final game of road trip against Edmonton

New maintenance crew to look after Okanagan Connector

Acciona Infrastructure Maintenance Inc. will replace Argo Road Maintenance Inc. in 2019

New Lake Country arts council to request funds from district

The arts council will ask the district for $8,000 from 2019 to 2021

Your guide to winter light ups around the Okanagan

From Vernon to Summerland, with a stop in Kelowna, we’ve found some activities for you to enjoy

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

Most Read