Fire crews from Langford, View Royal and Colwood were kept busy Monday at lunch time dealing with brush fires that developed along the Trans-Canada Highway corridor near Thetis Lake Park and toward the Millstream Road exit.
With temperatures back into the typical summer levels to start the week, the conditions around our grassy and forested areas are becoming even more dry, leaving them extremely vulnerable to fire.
While the causes of this week’s fires were still being determined at press time, we’re expecting word to come down that they were human caused, as many brush and grass fires in urban areas tend to be. While the majority of people use common sense these days and avoid throwing cigarette butts indiscriminately out the vehicle window or while walking, the fires are a sign that the warnings about such behaviour from area fire departments will be coming soon.
The area in question is not far removed from a large new residential development, whose residents may be inclined to use the nearby trails. With development on the West Shore continuing to encroach on previously wild areas, the chances of inadvertent actions causing a fire will no doubt increase.
With summer holidays for school kids fast upon us and camping season ramping up, many of us will be in the great outdoors more often over the next couple months. That means paying closer attention to how we leave our campgrounds, and the kinds of materials we take with us when on hikes or other day trips.
Some tips include encouraging smokers to take a water bottle along to fully extinguish a smouldering butt, and for parents to teach their children about the dangers of playing with matches or lighters in dry grassy areas. It’s amazing how fast “fun” can get out of control.
We hope our firefighters have minimal calls related to avoidable outdoor fires this summer. We can all help achieve that goal by taking a little extra time to think about how we might affect our natural surroundings before we head into the forest, walk through a dry, grassy area or even step outside for a cigarette.