Opinion: A call for caution

It doesn’t take much to turn a smoldering cigarette butt into a costly and dangerous fire.

Air tankers were sent over the fire by Harrison Lake to box it in Wednesday evening.

Air tankers were sent over the fire by Harrison Lake to box it in Wednesday evening.

The cloud of dust trailing behind a farm tractor might not be unique on the prairies, but in Chilliwack – in June – it is an unusual sight.

But it is indicative of just how dry it’s been around here. The two months of April and May were the driest on record. June looks like it is headed the same direction, with barely a sprinkle throughout the month.

Coupled with the heat, the lack of moisture is adding one more challenge for farmers.

But it is also creating a substantial fire risk.

On Wednesday fire crews were called out to Harrison Lake after a human-caused fire burned about half a hectare.

Chilliwack firefighters, meanwhile, have been kept busy chasing bark mulch and grass fires – mostly caused by errant cigarette butts tossed by unthinking motorists.

They were out on Tuesday, dousing an unattended campfire by the Vedder River.

Such actions are literally playing with fire.

High temperatures and dry fuel loads are a dangerous combination. It doesn’t take much to turn a smoldering cigarette butt into a costly and dangerous fire.

It is carelessness that carries a real cost: Consider the impact one cigarette butt had on the town of Barrier a few years ago.

On Thursday, the Coastal Fire Centre issued a campfire ban for most parts of the region. The dry weather and soaring temperatures make the risk too great.

The fire ban should also provide a reminder to particularly careful. We all share the parks, forests and trails that make Chilliwack such a special place to live.

It would be a shame to lose any of them because of a moment of thoughtlessness.