New rules for High Risk Activites

All across the Comox Valley Regional District, fire departments have been using different guidelines when considering high-risk activities during times of extreme fire hazard. We have all now settled on one consistent set of rules.

Staff at the CVRD set up a web page that explains these guidelines and activities.

To be clear, at this time there is no ban on high risk activities. We will provide notice when or if that time comes.

Campfire Ban in effect Wed July 18 at noon

It’s been a pretty good run for campfires this year but this heat has dried up any moisture in the ground and the BC Ministry of Forests has declared a campfire ban. The ban comes into effect on Wed, July 18 at noon.

CSA approved propane appliances are still allowed as are briquette barbecues. Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

HIFR Hosts the Blues

I got a call a few days ago from a Hornby Island Blues Society volunteer saying that they needed a replacement venue for a bass workshop. I asked if a truck bay would work and in less than ten minutes he dropped by to check it out for himself. I spent a couple of hours clearing the plan and was thrilled to call HIBS back to say it would work.

Hornby Island Blues Camp’s newest classroom

Ten students showed up this morning to learn bass guitar techniques from their  instructor, Gary Kendall, one of the finest blues bassists in the country.

I’m exited to share our beautiful new firehall with them for the next couple of days and so pleased that HIFR is able to help out with this fantastic festival.

Two Hornby Firefighters Heading to BC Hot Spot

HIFR is proud to be able to send two of our senior firefighters to help with structure protection in the wildfire events in the BC interior. Quana Parker and Sasha LeBaron will be serving as part of a structure protection unit staffed by our friends at Oyster River Fire Rescue and commanded by Chief Bruce Green. They will be leaving on Tuesday and will be staged out of 150 Mile House for their seven-day tour.

This is an exciting opportunity for our two fire fighters to gain valuable wild land fire management experience in a live incident environment. We are looking forward to the stories, skills, and knowledge that they will bring back and share with the rest of the department. With no respite in the weather forecast there is a good chance that two more Hornby firefighters may get the nod for a future tour to the interior.

Join us in wishing Sasha and Quana the best of luck in their deployment. Thank you for answering the call. You are making us proud.

Near Misses and Good Saves

HIFR has been pretty busy over the last few weeks. Despite the extreme fire hazard and the hundreds of fires elsewhere in the province, all of our calls have been medical. That doesn’t mean that we can let our guard down, though. I’ve heard of three recent local incidents that could have resulted in a fairly large scale response.

  • Around the time that the fire hazard went to extreme, I got a call from a resident whose chainsaw exhaust set fire to the log he was bucking up. He had water standing by and was able to extinguish it himself, but the event was an eye-opener into how easily things catch on fire in these conditions.
  • An HIFR member was driving by another resident’s workshop when he smelled smoke. As he was investigating, flames began licking out of the floorboards of the shop. The fire was most likely caused by a blob of hot steel that came from a welding job over an hour earlier. He was able to put out the fire with an extinguisher and saved the shop before any significant damage occurred and before the fire spread to the nearby forest.
  • A BC Hydro employee who happens to be a volunteer with Chemainus Fire was following another vehicle along a Hornby driveway with tall grass down the center. The exhaust system of the car ahead of her lit the tall grass on fire without the driver noticing. Our volunteer was carrying a fire extinguisher in her vehicle and was able to put out the grass fire before it spread to the field beside the driveway.

Here are some takeaways from those events:

  • Be vigilant
  • Carry an extinguisher
  • Avoid using chainsaws or other high fire-risk tools
  • Keep the driveway grass short (use a nylon string trimer)

Water Bomber over Helliwell

I was sorting though a bunch of papers in the office today and came across this gem from 1990.  I’m not sure who took it. Most of our photos around here were taken by Bob Cain but this doesn’t have his stamp on it.  I hope it may serve as a reminder to ensure that your camp fires are out when you leave them. We don’t want a repeat of that event anywhere on Hornby, ever again.

MARS Water Bomber over Helliwell August 1990