With summer and warm weather encroaching on the Island, having a beach fire may be tempting but the Central Saanich Police Service and Fire Department are reminding residents that they are never permitted to do so at Island View Beach.
Last weekend, the Central Saanich Fire Department was called to extinguish 12 fires on the popular beach.
“We are asking for the public’s support in helping keep everyone safe this summer,” the fire department said in a statement. “The beaches are patrolled regularly, monitored by local residents as well and fires will be extinguished.”
With the May long weekend, we would like to remind you that beach fires are never permitted at Island View Beach. The Central Saanich Police and @CSaanichFire extinguished 12 fires last week. #csaan
— cspoliceservice (@cspoliceservice) May 16, 2020
According to the fire department, beach fires pose a risk to plants and trees and could spark a wildfire – something that can’t be risked given current circumstances with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Smoke from a beach fire can impact air quality for residents and is also toxic.
“When burned, driftwood releases carcinogenic dioxins into the air due to combustion of the sea salt-saturated wood,” the fire department said.
Adults, children and pets have been burned by beach fires that have been smothered by sand as well. The fires are also a risk to ecologically-sensitive plants and trees in the area and are a risk to nearby homes.
“In addition, attending to beach fires uses our firefighters’ time and can lengthen their response time to other calls in the community,” the statement said.
Beach fires are also not permitted in other municipalities like Saanich, Victoria, Oak Bay, Sidney, Colwood and Metchosin.
Most open burning throughout the province is now prohibited with restrictions continuing in high smoke sensitivity zones in the province in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information, visit www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/fire-bans-and-restrictions.