fire situation 

Fire danger moderate By Chris Woodall Regional fire crews have been dispatched to Alberta to help fight forest fires roaring through the Rocky Mountain foothills around Swan Hills. The two 20-man crews from D'Arcy and Mount Currie haven't left the Sea to Sky Corridor unprotected. Three-man initial attack units are based in Squamish and Pemberton to keep an eye — and a fire hose — out for forest fires that may burst forth in this area. Fire danger has been lowered to "moderate" thanks to a squall of rain Monday and damp cool weather Wednesday of this week that took the fire hazard down from "extreme" last weekend. Four grass fires were reported in the Squamish to D'Arcy area in the past couple of weeks. Cause: carelessness. Camp fires are still allowed, but fire protection officer Keith Davis of the forestry service advises campers to keep a shovel and bucket of water handy. "Stir up the ashes," he says about thoroughly extinguishing a camp fire. "You should be able to put your hand in the ashes and feel that they are cold to the touch." Open burning to dispose waste has been banned until Sept. 15. "It's a standard thing, but the ban usually doesn't start until June 15," Davis says, noting the effect of an unusually hot and dry spring. This summer is predicted to be hot and dry, too, but don't get your hopes up as far as getting an adventurous job fighting forest fires. "We used to take people off the street to fight forest fires, but that doesn't happen any more," Davis says. It would have to be a major out-of-control blaze for that to happen now. Workers compensation issues — and the training needed to attack or mop up a forest fire — mean fire crews are more professional and are more mobile to beef up manpower needed elsewhere.

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