Richmond Fire-Rescue battling wild land fire
27 July 2018
Richmond-Fire Rescue is continuing to battle a wild land fire burning on the Department of National Defence lands near Westminster Highway and Shell Road in Richmond.
The fire is proving to be challenging to extinguish due to its location in heavily forested land, the hot weather temperatures and the need for extensive water to soak the peat soils in which the blaze is burning.
Richmond Fire-Rescue has been attacking the fire since early this morning, with more than 20 personnel on site. As of 3 p.m. today, the fire is estimated to cover 8 hectares. Richmond Fire Rescue is receiving support from BC Wildfire Services and the Department of National Defence both on the ground and from the air
Four fixed-winged airplanes provided by BC Wildfire Services have arrived and are dropping water on the fire. The Department of National Defence has also provided over a dozen officers and a fire apparatus to assist in combating the blaze. Richmond Fire-Rescue brought in an excavator early-on to create a massive path to the fire and also a fire break, giving crews the opportunity to extinguish the spot fires along the way
“This is a technical fire and will likely be a multi-day event, with various road closures needed to provide space for equipment and hoses,” said Fire Chief Tim Wilkinson. “Those downwind will experience smoke and ash and I urge you to keep windows closed, HVAC systems running, and those vulnerable with health issues should stay indoors out of the smoke.”
There a number of road closures in the area of the fire, which are expected to remain in place for some time. Westminster Highway is currently closed from No. 4 Road to No. 5 Road and Shell Road is closed from Westminster Highway to Alderbridge Way. Other roads in the area are heavily congested due to the road closures so motorists are advised to avoid the area and listen to traffic reports for further updates.
The Richmond Nature Park which is close to this location has closed it trails today. The Nature House and picnic and play area will remain open and the gate to the parking lot for the Nature Study Centre will be closed and posted with appropriate signage. These areas will remain closed until it is safe to allow unsupervised visitors to enter these areas.
Precautions must be taken by everyone against rising fire hazards caused by high seasonal temperatures and dry weather.
The current fire danger class rating for Richmond is high. B.C. Wildfire Management Branch defines the Danger Class Rating of High as:
Forest fuels are very dry and the fire risk is serious. New fires may start easily, burn vigorously, and challenge fire suppression efforts. Extreme caution must be used in any forest activities. Open burning and industrial activities may be restricted.
Visitors to local parks facilities are asked to obey posted signs and fire danger guidelines. The public can assist by exercising extra caution, and following these helpful tips:
• Do not discard smoking materials from vehicle; use vehicle interior ashtrays
• Do not dispose of smoking materials in flower beds or bark mulch beds
• Use large, deep, non-tip ashtrays to prevent ashes from falling onto combustible materials
• Allow lawn and farm equipment to cool before storing away
• Be aware of all spark and fire sources
• Propane or compressed gas powered barbecues are permitted using approved devices
• Campfires and briquette barbecues are prohibited everywhere
• Be cautious around fire in windy conditions
• Exercise caution with All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s) which produce a tremendous amount of heat and can ignite brush from their exhaust system
• Report all fires to 911
The City of Richmond recently introduced new smoking regulations in its Public Health Protection Bylaw No. 6989, which prohibits smoking within nine metres at bus shelters, transit signs and customer service areas including patios, doors, windows and air intakes. The bylaw also stipulates no smoking at public parks, school grounds and City properties. The current fines will remain the same, where $150 is fined for the first offence, $500 for the second offence and $1,000 for the third or subsequent offence.
Residents are also urged to take care during the predicted heat wave by staying hydrated, wearing sun protection and avoiding strenuous outdoor exercise. Most civic facilities have air conditioning and can offer a cool refuge from the heat. The City’s swimming pools and ice rinks also offer a cool alternative.
For more information on wild land fires and fire prevention, please call Richmond Fire-Rescue at 604-278-5131 or follow their Facebook page @Richmondfirerescue.