Wildfire prevention

A small wildfire at the edge of Summerland on Sunday could have been a significant threat if conditions had been a little different.

A small wildfire at the edge of Summerland on Sunday could have been a significant threat to the community if conditions had been a little different.

Quick action on the part of firefighters from Summerland, the Penticton Indian Band and the province kept the fire from spreading.

Calm weather conditions also played a factor. If the afternoon had been windy, the fire could have quickly grown to a much more significant blaze.

Summer fires are not unusual in the Okanagan Valley. In past years, some of the most devastating fires in the region have happened around this time of the year.

The combination of dry conditions and lightning strikes can lead to significant wildfires. On the weekend, 76 fires were the result of lightning strikes in the region and so far this year, 216 fires have been started as a result of lightning strikes.

Another 115 fires this year have been the result of human activity.

While it is impossible to eliminate all wildfires, it is possible to cut the number of wildfires caused by human activity.

A campfire ban is now in place in much of the province and the majority of campers are cooperating with this ban.

Still, there are some who are careless around fires. We continue to hear reports of campers who insist on having a fire despite the ban. We have also heard and seen some motorists discarding glowing cigarettes from their vehicle windows.

Such actions can result in a wildfire which results in the destruction of homes and property.

Those of us who have lived in the Okanagan Valley for any length of time should understand the importance of fire safety.

It is up to all of us to use some common sense at all times to reduce the risk of a wildfire.