Saanich fire Capt. Carl Trepels is reminding residents to be cautious as the forest fire risk in Greater Victoria has been upgraded to ‘extreme’ – as indicated on the sign outside Fire Hall #1. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich fire Capt. Carl Trepels is reminding residents to be cautious as the forest fire risk in Greater Victoria has been upgraded to ‘extreme’ – as indicated on the sign outside Fire Hall #1. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Greater Victoria forest fire risk upgraded to ‘extreme’

Residents reminded to be cautious with smoking material, avoid all outdoor burning

As Greater Victoria battles an ongoing heatwave, Saanich firefighters are reminding residents to be fire smart after the region’s forest fire risk rating was upgraded to ‘extreme.’

On Sept. 9, the Saanich Fire Department took to social media to share a photo of the forest fire rating sign on Vernon Avenue outside Fire Hall 1 which now shows that the risk rating has been deemed to be extreme.

“The beautiful sunshine is great, but please be careful with all smoking materials and remember there is no outside burning at all,” the post read.

READ ALSO: Summer heat to continue this week across Vancouver Island

Greater Victoria residents woke up to weather and air quality warnings on Tuesday morning as Environment Canada issued alerts about the high temperatures forecasted for the week and smokey skies from wildfires in Washington.

Saanich fire Capt. Carl Trepels said that this week the Coastal Fire Centre – part of the BC Wildfire Service – determined that the forest fire risk for most of the South Island is now ‘extreme.’ After three consecutive days of that rating, altered protocols are implemented for firefighters responding to calls and extra equipment is automatically sent to any wildland fires as they’re more likely to spread when it’s hot and dry.

READ ALSO: Chuck that cigarette butt, and face a fine

The increased response requires more resources so the community “needs to be really diligent” about not starting fires, Trepels explained.

He added that a complete burning ban has been in effect for some time now, but firefighters across the Island are reminding residents to be on alert. Smokers are reminded to extinguish their burning materials with water, drivers are asked to avoid parking on dry grass and anyone who spots smoke or fire is asked to call 911 immediately.

READ ALSO: Rural Saanich residents urged to take preventative steps ahead of wildfire season

He added that burning items like cigarette butts dropped in dry grass or mulch can smoulder for several hours if not doused in water and can spark fires long after being discarded – which is why tossing a burning butt from a car window, for example, can lead to hefty fines.

According to Saanich police Const. Markus Anastasiades, someone caught doing so may be issued either an $81 fine under the Motor Vehicle Act for littering or a $575 fine in accordance with the B.C. Wildfire Act for the mishandling of a burning substance near a forested or grassy area.

For fire prevention tips and advice for protecting homes and other structures, check out the FireSmart Home Owners Manual – available for free on the Government of B.C. website – or contact the Saanich Fire Department at fireprevention@saanich.ca or 250-475-5500.

READ ALSO: Victoria airport sees driest Sept. 8 in 67 years


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

District of Saanichfirefirefightersforest fire

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Food trucks will be allowed to operate in several Sooke parks beginning May 1. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke’s food truck pilot project under scrutiny

Councillor questions impact food trucks will have on nearby restaurants

A walk for autism awareness. (Black Press Media file photo)
COLUMN: Autism acceptance, not autism awareness

Elizabeth Sparling is the mother of a 24-year-old son with Autism Spectrum Disorder

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
PHOTOS: Vehicle driven into Saanich Walmart removed after two trapped workers rescued

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Tons of bottles were donated during bottle drives in Sooke and Langford on March 27. The funds raised from the drives will help a local family stay with their daughter during her leukemia treatments in Vancouver. (Photos: Glendora Scarfone)
Sooke, Langford bottle drives help cover family’s costs of staying with daughter during cancer treatments

More than $11,900 raised to help Shae Hanilton’s family stay with her in Vancouver

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Most Read