Strict fire ban remains in place in Parksville Qualicum Beach

It's been approximately 40 days and 40 nights with barely a drop of rain

While the record stretch of hot dry weather may be perfect for beach days, it is leading to dangerous conditions in the forest.

Local authorities have followed the provincial lead, banning all open burning throughout the Parksville Qualicum Beach area and almost the entire Coastal Fire Centre which covers southwest B.C.

Effective last Thursday until further notice, all open fires of any size are prohibited. This includes campfires, fireworks, Tiki torches and burning barrels but does not apply to contained gas, propane or briquette cooking stoves or portable campfire apparatus with a CSA or ULC rating not producing a flame higher than 15 cm (6″).

“This prohibition is necessary due to dry forest fuels and a forecast for a prolonged period without substantial rain,” said Parksville fire chief Doug Banks in a news release.

The fire danger rating is currently extreme throughout the region. The public is urged to exercise caution on forested land, discard cigarettes carefully and limit movement of ATVs and motorcycles through tall grass and undergrowth.

This July became the first since 1958 without any rain and while there is a slightly increased chance of precipitation, the long-term outlook is generally warm and dry and experts say it will take a long wet spell to change the fire danger.

Check www.bcwildfire.ca for the latest on fire activity, conditions and prohibitions. Report open fires to the local fire department. As usual report fire emergencies to 911.