Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Forest Fires; a Refresher for a Dry Spring

We can probably all agree that this spring has been a dry one, to say the least. With the exception of some recent thunderstorms thunderstorms the prairies have been going through an unusually dry spring season, which means the risk of forest fires is higher than ever.

In fact, even though the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service has lifted some fire restrictions, several still remain until we get a few more good downpours.

With this in mind, we felt this would be a good time to revisit what you need to know about forest fires, and how to prevent them:

How Do Forest Fires Start?

According to the National Forestry Database, over 8000 wildfires occur in Canada each year, burning an average of over  2.1 million hectares throughout the country.

Forest fires can only start one of two ways:

  • Through nature. This may occur due to a lightning strike, or occasionally by spontaneous combustion of dry fuel such as sawdust and leaves. These fires make up an incredible 85% of the area of land burned each year.
  • Through human action. Whether from a lack of care and attention or through neglecting to follow fire safety rules, many forest fires are the result of human influence.

Other causes of forest fires are:

  • Smoking
  • Recreational equipment
  • Unattended fires
  • Agricultural equipment

Fact: Most Fires Caused by Humans Are Preventable

Manitoba is a heavily wooded province, with 36.3 million hectares of forested and wooded area covering the 63.6 million hectares of land that make up the province.

This means over 57% of our total land area is forested, and we have a responsibility to protect it.

This means taking the appropriate steps to ensure that we’re complying with both the annual ban on open fires which runs from April 1st to November 15th, and to take steps to make sure that we never leave our fires unattended, or start fires in an unapproved fire pit.

Practicing  Forest Fire Safety

We all have a responsibility to protect our province and it’s natural resources, so here are some steps you can take to keep forest fires at a minimum this season:

  • Only start fires in approved and enclosed firepits.
  • Avoid starting a fire in extremely hot, dry, or windy weather conditions.
  • Don’t ever throw cigarette butts onto the ground. If you must smoke while in a heavily wooded area, ensure you bring along a portable ashtray.
  • Keep fire safety equipment nearby at all times. If outdoors, items such as water, a shovel, and some sort of fire retardant are key items to have around.
  • Take care when using items like matches, lanterns, or other high-heat or smoking materials.

For more information on preventing forest fires in Manitoba, or what type of fire safety equipment best fits your needs, let Bison Fire Protection help.

With fire safety services available in Winnipeg, Thompson, Brandon, Regina, and Kenora, we’re here to help you and your loved ones stay safe. Contact us at 866-441-3473 to schedule an appointment with us today.

Posted by Rob Read at 2:11 PM


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