Monday, August 02, 2010

Hot fun in the summertime

Published in the Kitimat Northern Sentinel Editorial, July 21, 2010.
This spring has been like a dinner guest who just didn't know when to go home.
The dinner dishes were washed and put away, you were yawning, your partner went to bed and yet spring didn't know enough to take the hint and go back where it came from.
Finally, the long anticipated summer is here.
At least, on an intermittent basis anyway.
Summer is the only reason Canadians for being good all winter.
At least that's what my mother, an immigrant to this country used to tell me when I was a child.
She told me if Canadians weren't good all winter, summer wouldn't come at all.
Mind you, she may have had her own agenda which didn't include lessons on Canadian culture and society.
Although it has been a long time coming, our forests have been experiencing summer for quite some time now.
The fire danger rating at the time of publication is high, the second highest rating before extreme.
In rating the fire danger, "extreme" is not the word du jour of a marketing genius 15 years behind the times.
It means the risk of forest fire is very high, to the point even general activities in the forest could be restricted.
Some activities are already restricted, we are only allowed small camp fires, up to 50cm in height or diameter, all other fires are prohibited.
The $345 fine for breaking the ban may not be much, but the cost to tax payers for a forest fire is much more.
Our water levels are low, our forests are dry, and this is not likely to change any time soon so we need to be smart and vigilant.
Gusts of wind can come up quickly and could take an ember from our small fire into the woods.
So if you have small camp or cooking fire, make sure you have a way douse it quickly with bucket of water, fire extinguisher, or dirt.
When you retire for the evening, or leave your campsite, make sure the embers of your fire are cool to the touch.
If you see flames, smoke or even an abandoned campfire, call 1-800-663-5555, or on your cell phone, call star 5555.
And throwing a cigarette out your car window doesn't magically put it out, put it out in the ashtray.
Or better yet, quit smoking altogether.
The recent fire at the J. Oviatt Contracting gravel yard demonstrates how even something innocent can quickly get out of hand.
Kitimat fire crews have done an excellent job putting out the fire working against high winds an managing the flare ups in the chip pile.
We are fortunate to have dedicated professional people watching our collective backs, but they need our help too.
Related Link
Kitimat Northern Sentinel
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