Marg Drysdale won’t predict the forest fire season in the mid-Island region. However, she said that at least to some degree, it depends on the people who live there.
“We don’t make predictions for the summer because it can change at any time,” the information officer for the Coastal Fire Centre said. “We could have one huge lightning storm and things can change in a heartbeat.”
However, she noted that although the fire risk in the region is low because of the wet, cool weather experienced this spring, there have still been 19 wildfires so far in the region, all of them caused by human activity.
“We had a fire in the Sutton Pass on May 13 that was caused by a car fire that spread into the adjacent area,” she said. “We have also had several nuisance fires, largely abandoned campfires, which is always an issue.”
In all, six campfires had to be extinguished by fire crews so far this season.
“It’s one of the biggest bugaboos we have,” she said. “On a Sunday or Monday of a long weekend, we spend a lot of time going around and putting out abandoned campfires. It’s a workload that’s not necessary and if there are other issues we need to attend, it would be helpful if we didn’t have to deal with campfires.”
She noted as well that, with campfires, bigger does not necessarily mean better.
“A big fire is not necessarily a good fire,” she said. “Smaller fires that are hot and well attended are better to cook on and they save wood. You don’t need to have a blazing bonfire in order to be warm.”
Drysdale said campfires should be no larger than half a metre by half a metre and should be attended at all times by someone who has the means to put it out.