Fire bans – most places still limited

Qualicum Beach lifts ban, but rest of region is still no-fire territory

The break in the long, hot dry spell on Vancouver Island has meant some areas have had total fire bans rescinded, but that’s not the case around Parksville-Qualicum.

Coastal Fire Centre spokesperson Donna MacPherson said Monday bans have been lifted on the northern tip of the Island and in what she called the fog zone, an area around Port Renfrew prone to heavy mist. However, the bans remain in place in the Central Island.

“We haven’t lifted any of our prohibitions in that area yet,” she said.

However, the Town of Qualicum Beach has backed off on its fire ban, thanks to the spell of wet, rainy weather.

“Based on the rainfall we received and what the current fire patrols we have in place, we have lifted our campfire ban,” said Qualicum Beach fire chief Darryl Kohse.

All fire bans in the City of Parksville remain in effect.

Fire information officer Marg Drysdale said there have been 27 wildfires in the Central Island area so far this year, of which 21 were caused by human activity and five by lightning.

She noted that while this is slightly below the 10-year average of 33 fires, the last two years have been fairly quiet, making this season relatively busy.

She noted that Environment Canada has predicted above average temperatures for the rest of the summer, with an average amount of precipitation. Because of this she urged residents to remain vigilant when they are out in the bush.

Although fire season generally ends in September, Drysdale said the season does not end on any particular date, but rather when the  weather dictates.

“Fire season ends when we have a weather system that dictates that  fire season is over,” she said. “Last year it went right into the middle of October. We don’t know what this year will bring.”