Oak Bay firefighters patrol the beach

Education key to prevention says deputy fire chief Dave Cockle

  • Mar. 29, 2012 7:00 a.m.
Oak Bay Deputy Fire Chief Dave Cockle inspects the remnants of a beach fire in Oak Bay.

Oak Bay Deputy Fire Chief Dave Cockle inspects the remnants of a beach fire in Oak Bay.

With spring weather underway, Oak Bay firefighters have upped their patrols to douse any beach fires they spot.

So far, so good.

But in a matter of weeks Oak Bay firefighters will be bracing for beach fire season, which fires up in May and continues through the hot, dry summer months of July and August.

Youth are sometimes, but not always, to blame for starting fires on Oak Bay’s beaches,  in violation of the district’s year-round open-burning ban, which includes beach fires, said Oak Bay Deputy Fire Chief Dave Cockle.

“It’s very difficult to manage and control a fire on the beaches,” he warned. “Once we get a couple weeks of very, very dry weather, there is a good risk to spread up into the foreshore and onto the private property.”

The Oak Bay Fire Department was belatedly contacted in recent weeks by a resident about three beach fires in the King George Terrace area over Christmas. Boards were stripped from a resident’s boat house and thrown on the fire.

“It ends up with people’s private lawn furniture getting thrown into the fire in order to get them started,” Cockle said. “People tend to, after they’ve had a few drinks, wander up through people’s properties and there’s damage done.”

One of the challenges in fighting a beach fire is getting to it quickly with the appropriate equipment. These blazes also take up considerable firefighting resources.

“It takes a truck out of service for a period of time while you’re dealing with a beach fire, and if you have another incident then you’ve got Victoria or Saanich on standby,” Cockle said.

Oak Bay firefighters take a proactive approach to educating the public about the district’s ban.

Fire prevention officer Capt. Ken Gill will speak to Oak Bay High Grade 12 students in May about the risks of setting beach fires, among other safety issues. The class visit coincides with grad party season.

The team of firefighters also conducts patrols, from May to September.

“What we do with our crews from May through September is they’ll go out at about 11 o’clock at night and we’ll drive along the beaches and the shores to make sure there are no fires, and if there are, then we put them out,” Cockle said. “We’ve spotted lots.”

Did you know?

The public is permitted to bring their lidded barbecues to Willows Beach.

 

 

Just Posted

An old growth cedar stands in a cut-block within the Caycuse Valley. More than 100 prominent Canadians, have signed an open letter calling for the immediate protection of all remaining old-growth forests in B.C. (Submitted)
Brian Mulroney and Greta Thunberg among 100 celebrities pushing to save B.C. old growth

List includes Indigenous leaders, scientists, authors, Oscar winners

COVID-19 exposures have been reported at Colquitz Middle School and Tillicum Elementary School, both on June 14. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
Two Saanich schools report COVID-19 exposures

Exposures reported at Colquitz Middle School and Tillicum Elementary School

Sooke RCMP seized cocaine, ketamine, MDMA, prescription pills, $6,000 cash, a machete and pepper spray during a bust June 15. (Courtesy of Sooke RCMP)
Sooke RCMP seize drugs, machete, pepper spray

Man arrested near Evergreen Mall following drug deal

This conceptual rendering shows revisions to the proposed warehouse in Sidney on land under the authority of the Victoria Airport Authority. York Realty, which plans to build, then lease the building, said significant changes to the the massing and height of the building respond to community feedback. Additional feedback can be submitted until June 30. (Screencap/York Realty)
Sidney warehouse proposal lands Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce endorsement

Public has until June 30 to submit additional comments after significant modifications

Staff will be reviewing public feedback from second-stage designs for cycling infrastructure in James Bay, part of the City of Victoria’s 32-kilometre network. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria sends James Bay bike lanes choice to next phase

Design modifications based on community input to be delivered to council this summer

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on Friday, February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
U.S. border restrictions to remain in place until at least July 21

Safety minister says Canada, U.S. extending restrictions on non-essential international travel

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

Most Read