With recent local wildfires and no end of the warm dry weather in sight, local municipalities and fire departments are closing trails and urging people to be extra careful.
“The Town of Qualicum Beach will be closing all town maintained walking trails as of noon Wednesday, until further notice in the interest of public safety,” Fire Chief Darryl Kohse said on Monday morning.
“Notices and barricades will be posted at local trail heads and we ask that the public stay out… to help reduce any potential threat of fire,” he said in a news release.
“Even the smallest ember could spread quickly within our local forests with potentially deadly results,” he said ahead of the weekend, in light of several, mostly human caused wildfires.
“It just takes one tiny spark in these tinder dry conditions,” he said explaining, “As of right now, there are no camp fires allowed within the Qualicum Beach Fire Protection Area. This ban also includes all enclosed wood burning appliances and gas appliances capable of creating a flame of more than 15 centimetres.”
The same burning ban has been imposed across all of Vancouver Island and most of the south coast. As of Friday, the Qualicum Beach Fire Department re-instated fire patrols, two people patrolling the local forested areas and beaches to look for fires or the smell of smoke and help inform the public about the ban.
“People have been really diligent so far, we’ve been really lucky, knock on wood,” he said praising and thanking local citizens. “Forestry crews and fire departments up and down the island have seen a huge increase in the number of fires this year and our forestry firefighting resources are being overtaxed.”
“We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable summer and to be careful around any open flame or smoking material.”
Similar closures have been announced across the Regional District of Nanaimo, but not in Parksville.