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Fire ban in effect in Pemberton

Need more rain

Put away those matches, a fire ban is in effect in the Village of Pemberton (VOP).

“The only thing you’re allowed to have is a camp fire. If you want to burn debris in your backyard, that’s out,” said Fire Chief Russell Mack.

Recent rain has some people under the misconception that the area is safe for burning.

“We had a call up on Reid Road yesterday about a fire that has happened because of some land clearing. Someone lit a stump pile on fire when it was raining and yesterday, when it dried out, we were up there with Mt. Currie and forestry,” said Mack.

While the fire was quickly contained, it could have been a disaster, due to the tinder dry forest floor.

Mack says it takes a week of rain to “really soak the place down.” As well, the impact of a downpour can be deceptive.

“We have a rain gauge at home and it showed one-and-a-quarter inches of rain in a 24-hour period. Well the ground is dry in some places because the rain didn’t make it though the forest canopy,” he explained.

As for whether campfires and cooking fires will be banned as they were in 2003, Mack says that the Forestry Protection Branch makes the decision —  one he suspects is largely political.

“The provincial government has mandated them to go to the very end on that. In 2003 (the ban) negatively impacted tourism and backcountry adventure.”

The ban is in effect until further notice.