Despite the recent extreme wildfire activity that has prompted evacuation alerts and orders throughout the Okanagan-Shuswap, some Salmon Arm residents are still being careless with fire.
Frustrated by complaints regarding improperly discarded cigarette butts and having to respond to reports of individuals burning carelessly, Salmon Arm Fire Chief Brad Shirley issued a public reminder of current fire restrictions and the need to be vigilant in preventing wildfires.
“Although there are no fires currently threatening the City of Salmon Arm, this could change in minutes,” warned Shirley adding that despite the recent clearer skies, a reprieve from wildfire smoke, this is no time to let down your guard. “Practising Fire Smart principles, adhering to restrictions and planning for such an emergency is absolutely critical.”
Shirley said firefighters recently responded to an incident in which an individual was using a torch to burn away weeds.
“Fortunately it didn’t go anywhere but it certainly had the potential to,” said Shirley, adding the individual was fined.
“Given the return of high temperatures, continued extreme fire danger rating and nearly 300 wildfires burning in province, sadly we have had to remind people of this,” said Shirley, stressing no burning is currently permitted and that violators will be fined.
“With all the warnings provided, we are issuing fines without hesitation,” said Shirley
Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst is a guiding philosophy Shirley hopes Salmon Arm residents are taking to heart. He said following Fire Smart principles could make the difference of your home surviving a fire.
“Moving fuel sources like firewood and lawn furniture away from your house, trimming branches near your roof, and cleaning out gutters are just a few quick chores you can do – before you’re in a wildfire emergency – that may save your property,” advised Shirley.
Shirley recommended the Wildfire Preparedness Guide by Get Prepared BC to assist families.
“Things like setting up a family communication plan in case you get separated, preparing grab-and-go bags for everyone in your household, and knowing your evacuation routes are just a few ways to make sure you’re ready.”
For timely, accurate information, Shirley also recommended using the Alertable app, one way in which the Columbia Shuswap Regional District and the Shuswap Emergency Program are providing emergency notifications to residents.
In times of crisis, it is important residents have access to trusted, timely and accurate information to ensure their own safety and that of their family and loved ones. As partners with the Shuswap Emergency Program, they have implemented “Alertable” as an emergency notification program.
“Although our firefighters are well trained and prepared, any fire in these conditions could be a challenge and following these guidelines will help us make a difference,” said Shirley.
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