– Fire Hazards Remain High to Extreme
The rain last weekend did have an impact on small fires in the medians. On the July 3 – 6 weekend Surrey had 47 brush fires in the city. On the weekend of July 23-26 there were nine brush fires, so the rain did have an impact, however one needs to keep in mind that most of these fires were small bark mulch fires, most likely caused by improperly discarded cigarettes.
So far this year, Surrey Firefighters have dealt with more than 270 brush fires. An indication of how dry this year has been, the 274 brush fires to date are nearly double the total amount of brush fires attended by Surrey Fire Service in all of 2014. If the current trend continues Surrey Fire Service is projecting more than 450 brush fire incidents by the end of this year.
“For Surrey’s city parks the fire danger is currently listed as high,” said Assistant Fire Chief Steve Robinson, “and with the coming hot weather it will likely change to extreme. There are new signs at city parks and some fire stations that give the fire risk rating. They will be updated bi-weekly and people need to pay attention to them,” he said
Surrey By-law officers will be out patrolling in full force at City parks and green spaces. Persons caught violating the open fire ban will be ticketed and will face a minimum fine of $200 and the potential of prosecution.
In Delta, Deputy Chief Ken Sim said that the weekend before the rain saw one human- caused fire in Watershed Park that generated some concern, despite the fact that the major parks had been posted as closed.
“Unfortunately carelessly discarded cigarettes is still a major factor in fires,” he said, “ and it’s still happening. With fewer people smoking, fewer new cars are equipped with ashtrays anymore. You go to any parking lot and you see cigarette butts scattered everywhere. Our fires are up big time as a result of that. At the same time last year (2014) we had 45 wild land fires, and to date this year there have been 105.”
New developments in Surrey Fire and Disaster Relief
There are some rural and agricultural areas that are not currently serviced with fire hydrants, so to support firefighting in these areas of the city, the Surrey Fire Service operates a fleet of 5 Water Tanker Trucks. This fleet is capable of providing a constant water supply to a fire scene in these areas not serviced by fire hydrants.
While sourcing a supplier for new Water Tankers, it was discovered that for very little cost, the city could also acquire a means to provide a water purification system on each Tanker. This water purification system could supply the best quality drinking water in the event of a disruption in potable water distribution or a complete water main failure, whether it’s a natural or man-caused disaster. This system will guarantee the best purification ability and safety to human health. Unfortunately they are not capable of desalinating salt water.
Using the fire pump to supply the water purification system, each Water Tanker unit is capable of filtering 500 imperial gallons per hour, or, 12,000 imperial gallons per day for a 3 truck total of 36,000 gallons of potable water per day, provided there is a constant supply from a fresh water source.
In 2009, Surrey Fire Service underwent a service review with the Canadian Fire Underwriters Survey, the results are a determining factor for the Insurance industry in establishing Fire Insurance rates. This review provided Surrey Fire Service with a “Superior Tanker Shuttle Accreditation.” Fire Underwriters recognize this accreditation as being equivalent to having fire hydrants in areas without hydrants, and results in reduced fire insurance premiums.
Surrey and Delta are well served by their respective fire services, which is the best insurance possible in the extreme weather conditions the region is currently experiencing.