Beaver Creek firefighters put out a fire on Mersey Rd in Beaver Creek. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Beaver Creek firefighters put out a fire on Mersey Rd in Beaver Creek. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Editorial: Use your head, butt it out

Summer burst into its full glory this week on Vancouver Island.

People fired up their barbecues, headed to the beaches and enjoyed the sun over the weekend and throughout the week, as temperatures broke the 30 C barrier.

However, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, there is an important point that seems to need repeating every year – be cognizant of the conditions and the ability for things to catch fire in an instant.

There have been several examples of human carelessness in recent weeks.

In early June Langford Fire Rescue responded to a fire in the backyard of a home near Florence Lake Road. A quick-thinking construction worker noticed smoke and went to locate it. By the time crews arrived on scene, the construction worker had found a garden hose and helped keep the fire at bay.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Fire Chief Chris Aubrey noted there was campfire equipment in the vicinity.

Most recently, a fire ripped through roughly one-hectare of forest in the Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park over the weekend. Mike MacIntyre, acting senior manager for CRD regional parks, said the fire was likely caused by a campfire, even though camping is not permitted in the area.

Even something as careless as tossing a cigarette butt out a car window can have devastating effects (and could come with a hefty $575 ticket from RCMP under the B.C. Wildlife Act).

So the next time, you’re having a campfire with friends (in a permitted area) or thinking about tossing your lit cigarette butt out the window, pause and think to yourself – do you really want to be responsible for causing thousands of dollars worth of damage in a fire that could have been prevented?

Island firefighters love practicing their craft, but most would ideally rather do so in controlled situations than fight uncontrolled blazes on public or private land.

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