The Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service reminds the public that the hot spring weather can create ideal conditions for unwanted outdoor fires.
Deputy Fire Chief Mike Helmer said “With the warm and dry conditions we have experienced in the Abbotsford area recently, areas of grass, hedges and bark mulch landscaping have quickly become tinder dry. Even one carelessly discarded cigarette can cause a major fire in a matter of minutes.”
He urged smokers to use non-combustible ashtrays and to never flick their cigarette butts onto the side of the road.
In the past week, Abbotsford firefighters have responded to two brush fires, two hedge fires and one bark mulch fire. Most of those relatively small fires had the potential to spread quickly and cause serious damage. Abbotsford is a city surrounded by farmland and forests – both of which increase the risk of a serious interface fire.
The City of Abbotsford regulates all outdoor burning under the fire service bylaw, and between June 1 and Sept. 30, a total burning ban is in effect. Outdoor cooking is permitted using charcoal briquettes, natural gas or propane-fuelled appliances but extra caution should be taken when using.
Currently, there is a $500 fine for discarding burning substances ( including cigarettes) and a $500 fine for burning during the fire ban. People who cause accidental fires may also be charged cost recovery fees or possibly face criminal charges.
Contact the Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service non-emergency line at 604-853-3566 regarding any questions on outdoor burning in the City of Abbotsford.