With the dry conditions, the County is asking everyone to take extra precautions, particularly around the highways, to use caution in the area to avoid any activity that may cause a fire during this high-risk season.
Below are tips and information on various activities that are considered high-risk.
Please take proper precautions to avoid fires.
Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) include:
- All-terrain Vehicles (ATV)
- Other vehicles designed for travelling off public roads and on unpaved trails and rough terrain
Debris falling from these vehicles have been known to cause wildfires.
How OHVs Can Start Wildfires:
- Exhaust systems heat up to temperatures in excess of 204 degrees Celsius; hot enough to fry an egg and start a wildfire.
- At these temperatures, built up materials and debris on your machine (such as grass, muskeg, moss, or other debris) can heat up, smoulder and ignite.
- The smouldering debris can drop to the ground as you’re riding, starting a wildfire.
Help Reduce the Risk:
You can reduce the risk of your vehicle causing a wildfire by following these simple steps:
- Before you ride, clean out hot spots and remove debris from your machine.
- After riding through muskeg or tall grass, stop and remove any build-up from your machine.
- Carry firefighting equipment such as a small shovel, collapsible pail or fire extinguisher.
- Wash your quad, trike or bike and keep it clean.
- Do not wash in streams and creeks!
- Make sure your muffler and spark arrestor are working properly.
- Stop frequently. Take the time to knock debris from your machine’s hot spots. If the debris is smouldering, soak it, stir it, and soak it again to make sure it’s out.
More information can be found here.
Having a campfire?
Here are some tips to keep in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable campfire experience:
Select Your Site
- In campgrounds or recreational areas, use the designated stoves, rings, or fire pits. They are designed to keep fires from spreading and are the best choice for a safe campfire.
- When outside of a campground, use sites that are clear of dry grass, bushes, leaves, branches, tree trunks, peat moss, and overhanging branches. If the site has already been used for a campfire, use the same site.
- Build your campfires on level ground that is sheltered from wind.
- If you can’t build your fire near a water source, have a large container of water nearby to keep your campfire under control. When you are done, fully extinguish it by soaking it, stirring it, and soaking it again.
Prepare Your Campfire
- A shovel or spade
- An axe or hatchet
- Enough water to fully extinguish your campfire
In the backcountry or where there is not a dedicated fire ring, use these instructions:
- Make a circle about one metre around.
- Dig or scrape down to the mineral soil.
- Clear away any flammable materials within one metre of the pit.
Extinguish Your Campfire
Soak It. Stir It. Soak It Again!
- Let the fire burn down before you plan on putting it out. Spread the embers within the fire pit, then add water or loose dirt, and stir.
- Expose any material still burning. Add more water and stir again until you can no longer see smoke or steam. Do not bury your fire as the embers may continue to smoulder and can re-emerge as a wildfire.
- Repeat until your campfire is cool to the touch.
- If your fire is out, you should not be able to feel any heat from the ashes.
More information can be found here.
Incorrect Discarding of Cigarette Butts
When a cigarette is littered when not fully extinguished, it not only pollutes the environment, but it also becomes a fire hazard.
Natural Resources Canada identifies that just over half of wildfires are caused by humans, with the source being anything from campfires, off-highway vehicles, out of control burns, or lit cigarettes.
They can also be dangerous in the home, as cigarettes and cigarette lighting products are responsible for five percent of house fires in Canada (2019).
While cigarette butts are not causing a disproportionate amount of fires compared to other human activities, it is important to understand the potential for risk they hold.
They can be particularly dangerous because if a cigarette is left burning, it is not overtly obvious. A fire started from a cigarette can go unnoticed for longer compared to something like a kitchen fire, because the fire can start off small and out of sight. This is true as well in natural areas, where a cigarette left on a dry and combustible substrate may cause a fire to start as cigarette butts (in the right conditions) can smolder for days.
This is an additional reason why it is so vital for smokers to have proper butt-disposal habits, and for non-smokers to do their best and provide access to receptacles, especially if they are employers, or in high impact areas. The practice of proper butt disposal is a true “two birds, one stone” situation in preventing both physical pollution, and mitigating the risk of fires in natural areas!
By encouraging proper butt-disposal, we also encourage good habits which people can take home, resulting in a safer (and Greener!) future.
Websites to reference: