Late Night Incident Ends with Abandoned Boat

There was an incident just before midnight last night near Mushroom Beach at Helliwell Provincial Park. Two fellows had problems with their boat motor and were just able to limp into the sandstone shelves north of the beach. They refused help from the fire department, choosing instead to weather out the night close to their boat.

In the morning they discovered their boat had been beat up on the rocks, the motor had come off the boat and sunk, and the gas can was no where to be seen. Apparently wallets, keys, and some other personal items are also sleeping with the fishes, as they say.

They arranged a ride off island and assured both me and the Coast Guard Environmental Response dispatcher that their boat was sunken and wouldn’t be a hazard. I had Firefighter Lewis go investigate, and just as I suspected, we now have a tin boat on the shelves near Mushroom Beach.

 

At this point HIFR is “clear of scene” but as a frequent admirer of this stunningly beautiful spot I’m looking for suggestions on how to deal with this. I think that the seats are packed with Styrofoam that will be spread far and wide if the boat breaks up much further.  I’m thinking that hauling it up the cliff and disposing of it at the recycling depot is the only environmentally sound method of dealing with it.

What are the Types of Burn Piles

I just got the latest newsletter from the Coastal Fire Center which contains a lot of great information about what makes up the various categories of burn piles.

Is your pile a category III or category II? Did you know that you are legally obliged to only light up your burn pile if the venting index is “good”?

If you plan on burning a pile of waste in your backyard please have a look at this newsletter.

Retirement of Iain Palmer

These are Iain’s long service medals with a letter from the Governor General of Canada.

Our end-of-summer barbecue was held last week and was mainly a retirement party to honour Iain Palmer’s 31 years of service to our community.

Iain was one member of the team that began our First Responder program back when sick people were being driven off island in the back of a station wagon. He was instrumental in acquiring our first ambulance.

He then went on to do our fire inspections and served as public safety officer. Iain is one of those people who doesn’t say a lot, but when he does speak up it’s always worth paying attention to. Thank you to Iain for his many years of public service and for his even keel and wise words.

Iain is a very practical sort of fellow. When we heard how rickety his 30 year old wheelbarrow was, his retirement gift became obvious.

Smoking and Butt Disposal

Yesterday our duty officer responded to a smoldering log at the parking lot at Little Trib.  Someone had put out a cigarette on the crispy dry red cedar log that marks the parking area. A nice on-shore breeze fanned the embers and it spread into the log.

Little Trib Parking area. The red arrow marks the log that was smoldering.

Right beside the log is a metal can for disposing of cigarette butts. On the other side of the log is a quarter acre of dry grass. Downwind of the log are really dry scrubby beach shrubs and four homes. When I visited the site today I found 6-8 cigarette butts that looked less than a week old in the grass.

Little Trib beach access is highways land and it is legal to smoke there. However, those logs at the edge of the parking lot border on very dry and flammable private land. Please, if you use that log for a get-together or for just enjoying the view use the metal can for your butts.  Perhaps consider moving down onto the gravel beach when smoking.  That way if an ember falls onto the ground it won’t light up the dry grass.

Also please let others, who may not be following social media, know the importance of being safe with cigarettes.

High Risk Activity Restrictions

Effective noon on July 30 we are implementing restrictions on high risk activities. These activities include chainsaw usage, lawn mowing, brush cutting with metal blades, and land clearing. Nylon string weed trimmers are allowed as they are unlikely to create a spark.

For more information on which activities are allowed and which are restricted please refer to the Wildfire BC page.

If you witness someone engaging in one of the risky activities you can call the Fire Patrol cell phone at 250.703.1792 or the Fire Hall at 250.335.2611. If you choose to inform the operator yourself please be kind. They may not be aware of the restrictions.  Entering into a confrontation benefits no one.

Congratulations to Our New Firefighters

After a ton of hard work and long hours of studying, Duncan MacCaskill and Rob Lewis have been promoted from Rookie to Firefighter. Duncan returned to us this year after a lengthy absence and Rob joined our department almost two years ago.

The test to be promoted has a multi hour practical component and  a 40 question written test. They both demonstrated an outstanding commitment to their training, to the betterment of our department, and to the health and safety of our community.

Congratulations Rob and Duncan!

New Licensed First Responders

On behalf of HIFR, and the entire Hornby Island community, I’d like to congratulate Jac Graham, Rob “Louie” Lewis, Albini Lapierre, and Scott Towson for achieving their FR licenses though the Emergency Medical Assistants Licensing Board.

They dedicated themselves to a 40 hour course then did many more hours of practice before challenging both a written and practical exam. I’d also like to thank Paula Courteau for her many hours of prep and for her excellent instruction, and John Heinegg for doing all of the evaluations.

I could not be more proud of the dedication of this group of volunteers to the health and safety of our community.

Doug Chinnery
Fire Chief

The Different Types of Outdoor Fires

The most recent news letter from the Coastal Fire Center has a bunch of great information inside. The front page tells us all about the various categories of outdoor fires… What makes a campfire a campfire and what differentiates a category 2 backyard burn from a category 3 slash pile.

Further on in the newsletter they discuss the often talked about ventilation index and how to report a non permitted burn.

Click on the image for a pdf version of the newsletter.