EDITORIAL: Sunny weather brings fire risk

Long, wet spring doesn’t diminish need for fire safety come summer.

It’s getting hot out there.

Finally, summer seems to have arrived.

We wet coasters whine perennially about our typically dreary weather in June – now commonly, perhaps affectionately, known as ‘Jun-uary’ – but this year it turns out the complaining wasn’t without good reason.

We were a full degree below average this year, which is significant, even if it doesn’t seem like much of a difference.

We Islanders avoided the flood scares that put much of the province on alert last month. But now that the wet weather is apparently behind us, the sudden turnaround to a hot, dry summer brings a new set of challenges – more important than listening to moaning about the heat, instead of the cold and damp.

In the forests and interface zones (where forest meets urban), the lengthened growing season has translated to plenty of undergrowth, which will become potential fire fuel as it dries out.

More so than ever, fire officials are urging people to be wary of the risks for brush fires and wildfires.

The risks could be compounded, fire prevention officials and firefighters worry, by a sense of complacency that might have grown out of the recent lengthy spate of grey.

That’s concerning because it only takes a few hot days strung together to eliminate any residual moisture left in wooded areas from an extended damp stretch.

So as we move from damp to dry, please remember to minimize fire risks.

For tips and a list of fire resistant plants, please visit the FireSmart Canada website at www.firesmartcanada.ca, or for information about wildfire safety, please visit the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch website at www.bcwildfire.ca.

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