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Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2018 August

    Fire & Police    October 10, 2018

Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue August 2018 incidents report. Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue (SSIFR) responded to a department record of 108 Incidents for the month of August. These were: 38 calls for assistance, 17 medical emergencies, 1 residential structure fire and 1 suspected residential structure fire , 2 commercial structure fires , 4 MVIs (motor vehicle incidents), 17 brush/grass fires or suspected fires, 10 open burn fires, 3 Hydro fires, 1 boat fire, 3 hazardous material incidents, 2 animal rescues, 1 rope rescue, 5 commercial and 3 residential alarms

This month, crews were busy with wildfires, each of them successfully-contained:

  • On August 3, SSIFR responded to our first major wildfire of the season. The fire, in a hard-to- access wooded area on Beaver Point Road, proved to be a challenge. The fire crews were effective in containing the fire.
  • On August 21, SSIFR responded to another south end brush fire, this time on Musgrave Road. Despite drought-like conditions, the fire was successfully contained.
  • On August 25, crews fought another smaller fire on Musgrave Road which was quickly contained with the help of BC Wildfire Service crews.
  • August 28 SSIFR assisted BC Wildfire Service with an out-of-district brush fire on top of Mt Tuam. SSIFR provided the BC Forestry crews with a consistent water supply for over six hours.

All the brush fires SSIFR responded to this year were suspected to be human-caused. We appreciate the assistance from all the island responders (Emergency Program, ESS, Neighbourhood POD’s, RCMP, and BCAS) along with our partners at the Coastal Fire Centre (BC Wildfire Service) in containing these fires.

For the second year in a row, our Salt Spring crew was asked to assist with wildfires in British Columbia. On August 15, our first deployment left for Fraser Lake under the direction of the Office of the Fire Commissioner. In total, three crews were deployed and included Doug Ponsford, Patrick Byrne, Eric Taylor, Warren Nuyens, Mitchell Sherrin and Jason Gaffney. A final report of the BC Wildfire Deployment will be presented October.


Unfortunately, this month we lost recruits Yegor L. and Ryan S. along with Firefighter Addison Voyce who joined SSIFR in 2015. We thank Yegor, Ryan and Addison for their service to Salt Spring Island. Our 2018 Recruit class roster is now 10 strong.
In early August, we lost one of our leaders, retired Fire Chief Dave Enfield, who passed away in Surry with his family by his side. Enfield served his career with Surrey Fire Services and as our Fire Chief on Salt Spring Island for 10 years. Enfield greatly enhanced our service and operations during his decade as our Fire Chief. His leadership will be missed but always remembered. Thank you for your service, Chief.


SSIFR Firefighters spent the summer responding to emergencies day and night but also continued to train to be response-ready. Firefighters trained on several disciplines including: auto extrication, First Responder medical, Firefighter rescue, ropes and knots, and special operations.

In conjunction with other Salt Spring Island responders, SSIFR played a key role in a large-scale Emergency Operations Centre mock scenario. The full day scenario allowed responders to put their skills to work and manage an island-wide wildfire in a simulated situation. The scenario was very successful and demonstrated areas of strength as well as areas for improvement.

Inspection and Fire and Life Safety Education

A total of 43 Fire and Life Safety Inspections were conducted in August along with one special permit inspection and two Fire Safety consultations. Three new Pre-Incident plans, one Fire Safety plan and one bylaw referral report were completed. Our summer student, Connor B from the UVic Co-Op program, completed 30 Pre-Incident plans for our department.

On August 3 SSIFR met with the Ruckle Park staff to teach them about wildland fire suppression with their available equipment. Our Education team also conducted a fire extinguisher training workshop for the staff at Slegg Lumber.

Improperly discarded cigarette butts are a very real fire hazard. In an attempt to address this concern, SSIFR partnered with Mouat’s Home Hardware to introduce the reusable “Pocket Ashtray.” The pocket ashtrays are an effective and affordable tool to reduce littering and fires caused by improperly discarded butts. The pocket ashtrays have been a huge success locally and with visitors. Special thanks to Kim and the Mouat’s Home hardware management for bringing this great initiative to our community. The reusable pocket ashtrays can be picked up from Mouat’s Home Hardware or the Ganges Fire Hall.

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