It may only be April, but with arid conditions already in the forecast, it is important to start thinking about fire safety early. Though all the fire safety tips from the B.C. government are posted online, there are some points that are particularly worth mentioning if you are thinking about burning debris from cleaning the lawn or simply lighting a campfire. When considering lighting a fire always ask yourself these three questions: is it necessary, is it safe, and is it legal?
Fire Chief and Emergency Coordinator, Jim Daigneault said, “We have not had any grass fires yet this year but it is still early, in past years we usually get at least two calls for people burning [grass] and it gets away from them”
Fire safety begins with avoiding all unnecessary burning and keeping any burning to a minimum. To avoid lighting unnecessary fires consider composting leaves or any other biomass that would otherwise be burned. If composting is not a suitable solution, considering contacting a local recycling or tree trimming company to remove the debris.
If you must burn, doing so in a controlled and safe manner is extremely important. It is necessary to make sure that your material is dry and burns quickly, as a quick burning fire is easier to control and produces less air pollution. It is advisable that any material should be dried for up to six months before being burned to ensure that it burns completely and in a short timeframe.
Finally, always consider any legal restrictions that might affect your planned burn. Always staying aware of the current fire danger rating is extremely important once the snow is off the ground, as the risk of wildfires is likely to be high this year. In addition to following any local bylaws, keep in mind any fires over two cubic meters require a permit from the District of Houston before proceeding.
All of these things are essential, but so is being familiar with fire safety. Burning in high winds, in close proximity to structures, or even using ignition sources such as gasoline are all dangerous and worth avoiding.
For any additional information on fire safety and bylaws please visit www.gov.bc.ca for more details.