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Fire danger extreme in qathet region

Area residents urged to take caution
DRY FORESTS: The qathet region is now in extreme fire danger. Residents are cautioned to take care, to avoid wildfires such as this one in Tla’amin Nation that started on June 9.

According to the provincial government’s fire danger map, the qathet region is now classified as being at an extreme danger rating.

BC Wildfire Service’s website indicates this means there are extremely dry forest fuels and fire risk is very serious. New fires will start easily, spread rapidly and challenge fire suppression efforts.

General forest activities may be restricted, although at this time, according to the wildfire service, forest use is unrestricted. All open burning has been restricted, including campfires, which were restricted as of June 30. This prohibition will remain in effect until October 15, 2021, or until the order is rescinded.

The qathet region has already had two wildfires in recent weeks. The Daniels River fire that was spotted on June 27 was about two hectares in size and at its peak, had four helicopters, air tankers and 24 firefighters at the scene, working to suppress the fire.

More recently, the Sliammon Lake fire, in Tla’amin Nation territory, on July 9, burned nearly an hectare of forest near Highway 101 north of Powell River. The fire was fought by the Tla’amin fire department, assisted by BC Wildfire Service support, and was brought under control after about six hours, in spite of being fought in difficult terrain.

Tla’amin Nation fire chief Byron Harry said the forests are dry.

“We need people to remember that even small sparks could potentially spread and have large consequences,” stated Harry in a media release. “We were lucky that we were able to work with firefighters from the BC Coastal Fire Centre to bring the fire here under control, but it could have been far worse if it wasn’t discovered as quickly as it was.”

For residents of the province, the provincial government, through PreparedBC, has written a wildfire preparedness guide. It can be found online by entering BC wildfire preparedness guide into an internet search engine.

qathet Regional District residents are encouraged to register for the community notification system, which provides alerts to those registered in times of emergency such as wildfires. To sign up for the local service, go to and click on the emergency services button on the homepage. When taken to the new page, go to the section that says “sign up for alerts” and register for the community notification system.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire, or open burning violation, call 1.800.663.5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cell phone.

Anyone found in contravention of an open-burning prohibition may be issued a violation ticket for $1,150, may be required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000, or, if convicted in court, may be fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail, according to a media release from BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.