By Kelly Kitsch, Registered Forest Technologist
Summer brings warmer temperatures, lower rainfalls as well as many opportunities to explore the outdoors. Mission is fortunate to have many great recreation trails weaving through our forests which are vulnerable to human carelessness.
In early July, a human caused fire started on the rocky viewpoint at the top of the Stave Dam Forest Interpretation Trail. Luckily it was reported early by other trail users and the quick response by the Mission Fire Rescue Service and Forestry Department minimized the damage and prevented a larger forest fire.
In 2017, 41% of all forest fires in BC were human caused, with all fires burning a record 1.2 million hectares. Discarded cigarettes, campfires, hot exhaust pipes contacting vegetation, power tools, tiki porches and even discarded glass can all ignite a wildfire. The key to preventing a wildfire and protecting life and property means stopping the behaviour that contributes to their ignition.
Avoid smoking while hiking on trails, and always extinguish butts in water or mineral soil. As with the fire on the rocky viewpoint, even dry moss can ignite and spread quickly into surrounding vegetation.
If you are having a campfire, ensure you are using an approved fire pit, or that you start the fire only on mineral soil removing all leaves, twigs and other flammable material from the area. Keep your fire small, never leave it unattended, and always completely extinguish the fire before leaving. Regular patrols in the municipal forest find numerous unextinguished fires. Respect all campfire closures. These closures are available on the Fire Bans and Restrictions page at www.bcwildfire.ca
If you spot a forest fire, call *5555 on your cell phone.