We had a pretty damp June and an extremely moist early July.
And yet, we’re already back in fire season after just a few days of scorching temperatures.
Why is Langley so vulnerable to fire every summer? For those of us who have been here for decades, the warnings – and the actual brush fires, in fields, floodplains, and woodlands – seem to be more frequent than in decades past.
That might be true. It’s not that Langley is necessarily drier, and it doesn’t have more woods and fields than in the past. The big change is that there are more people.
The vast majority of wildfires in rural and suburban areas are human-caused. Every year, our local Township and City fire departments ask us not to flick cigarette butts out of our car windows. We’re asked to obey the rules when it comes to backyard barbecues and fire pits, and to respect the limits on burning brush on acreages.
And even if the vast majority of us do that, it still only takes one person being careless to set off a fire.
In recent years, firefighters have had to head out to Glen Valley, Fort Langley, Willoughby, Brookswood, Langley City, and several sites in South Langley to douse fires in fields, roadsides, and planted medians.
Often the person who set the fire is none the wiser.
In many cases, it’s a pure accident – one fire more than a decade ago that scorched a stretch of trees and grass along Highway One was thought to have been caused by a hot piece of metal falling off a vehicle engine.
That’s all the more reason to be cautious.
We can’t control for accidents, or for acts of nature like lightning strikes. So what we can control, we should. So stub out the cigarette in the ash tray, pile up that brush for burning next fall, and double check the regs before you start a big bonfire for a hot dog and marshmallow roast.