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Burn Ban has been lifted! We appreciate your continued diligence around fire safety.

During High and Extreme Fire Dangers, SSIFPD urges extra caution when using spark-producing tools such as chainsaws. Chainsaws can cause a fire-risk in a few ways; producing a spark by hitting a rock, friction from hardwood, and by the hot exhaust resting on combustibles like sawdust.

The Salt Spring Island Fire Protection District Bylaw No. 125 governs open burning and high-risk activities. Part II of the regulations states that at any time the Fire Chief deems it advisable, the Fire Chief may order one or more of the high-risk activities in Schedule B to be prohibited for a specific period of time unless authorized by a Special Permit issued by the Fire Chief. Restrictions of activities in response to increased fire risk include Fire Watch, Early Shift or Cease Activity as follows:

  • After three consecutive days of Moderate fire risk, workers must maintain a one-hour Fire Watch with appropriate fire fighting tools.
  • Once a High fire risk begins, a Fire Watch increases to two hours.
  • After three days of High fire risk, workers must follow Early Shift (cease High-Risk Activities by 1 p.m.).
  • Once Extreme fire risk begins, workers must follow Early Shift and maintain a Fire Watch).
  • After three days of Extreme fire risk, workers must Cease High-Risk Activity in forests and grasslands.
A worker conducting Fire Watch must patrol the work site, carry a forest-fire-fighting tool, have the means to report a fire and commence extinguishment immediately upon discovery of fire.

Schedule B of Bylaw No. 125 list high risk activities as listed in the BC Wildfire Act. The Bylaw along with Schedule B can be viewed at http://www.saltspringfire.com/forestry.php

Our recommendation for best practice is to not take the chance and avoid using these types of tools during the high-risk fire season. The question to ask yourself is, Do I need to do this now, or can it wait?

Chainsaw use is permitted during High or Extreme fire-danger periods, if the work is done on a non-combustible landing. Areas we consider safe include: green grass, gravel areas, roadways, driveways, or other non-combustible surfaces.

It is possible to apply for a Special Permit that allows commercial operators to carry out necessary work during High or Extreme Fire Danger periods. To grant a Special Permit, we evaluate each job and location and assess the risk factors. Working together, we develop an enhanced fire safety plan so operators can continue to work in a fire-safe manner.

What if you are concerned about someone using a chainsaw?

  • You may hear a chainsaw operating during High or Extreme periods. If you feel comfortable speaking with the operator, let them know of the fire danger. Ask them to confirm with the Fire Department if there is any uncertainty about the work site.
As of today July 31st 2017, Salt Spring Island is in an Extreme Danger rating. Working together to make Salt Spring Island, FireSmart.

Follow these Chainsaw Fire Safety Tips:

  • Maintain your saw. The exhaust should have a spark arrestor screen. Ensure the saw has no fuel leaks. A sharp saw means you will spend less time on one location venting exhaust.
  • Be aware of the fire-risk condition. Signs are posted at all fire halls and ferry terminals. We also update our website, social media and local news agencies. Using a chainsaw during periods of Moderate, High or Extreme fire-risk requires extra caution.
  • Work on a non-combustible surface like a driveway or a cleared area (referred to as a Landing. Never set a hot saw down on fine fuel combustibles like woods chips or leafy debris (use a stump or bare ground).
  • Work in the morning while temperatures are cooler and there is a higher relative humidity to help reduce the risk of ignition.
  • Maintain a one-hour fire watch after cutting to make sure you have not started a fire. (This is an industry requirement after three days of Moderate fire risk). Check sawdust for smoldering embers.
  • Turn off a saw and wait three minutes before refueling. Do not smoke when refueling. Clean up all spilt fuel. Move three meters away from fuel containers before starting a saw.
  • Bring a fire extinguisher and a shovel to extinguish fires. Bring a phone to report a fire and report promptly if one does start (Call 911)
If you have further questions on chainsaw use or other high-risk activities, please contact the Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue at 105 Lower Ganges Road. (250-537-2531) or email info@saltspringfire.com

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Salt Spring Island Fire/Rescue, 2018

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