EDITORIAL: Pay attention during dry spell

High fire hazard conditions means extra vigilance needed when using flammable materials

The message is similar every year: take extra care when engaged in recreation in dry areas.

The District of Metchosin, the last bastion of freedom around the Capital Region when it comes to beach fires, is even considering instituting a ban on that traditional summer party ingredient, due to the strain they are putting on its volunteer fire department.

It’s the old story, however, the relatively few ruining it for the majority. It’s people doing silly things like hauling pallets in to burn up, without removing the nails first, or tossing spent beer bottles into the fire after draining them.

We never like droning on about what seems like common sense safety tips, but sometimes it’s up to the rest of us to call out those unthinking people who force removal of a good time for the people who pay attention and take special care when building and monitoring fire at a dry time of year.

It’s true that the lack of rain in recent weeks isn’t helping matters and will play a major role in forcing Metchosin’s hand to ban beach fires.

That said, even if temperatures suddenly cooled down significantly and the fire rating was lowered, it makes sense at any time to watch what you’re doing, avoid flicking cigarette butts indiscriminately and think at least a little bit about the environment and those who are charged with caring for it.

While predicting sunny days for June around Greater Victoria can often be as tough as picking the winning lottery numbers, most people are revelling in the sunshine, believing this to be a dry run for summer.

But that’s just it – the lack of rain through May and the early part of June could be a sign that dry conditions will continue through the hottest part of the year in the region. And because of that, it’s time we started thinking about how to get along without including fire in our holiday or weekend recreation plans.

Even if there’s an ocean right next to where you’re building that fire, the chances are heightened that sparks can fly and ignite a whole hillside or forest.

Keep that in mind.

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