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Fire ban still in place in Maple Ridge fire chief warns

Fines of up to $1,000 for those who disobey
Wildfire reportedly burning along the west side of Stave Lake, at about the 20 or 21-kilometre mark. (Mission Fire Rescue Service Facebook)

The Maple Ridge fire chief is reminding the public that there is still a total fire ban in the city – this on the heels of a large wildfire that started over the weekend along Stave Lake in Mission.

Fire chief Michael Van Dop noted that although the fire on Stave Lake was in Mission and attended to by Mission Fire Rescue Service, it is an illustrative example of what can happen in this community as well if people are not careful.

He said there have been more fires lately within the boundaries of Maple Ridge, including several large brush fires of the past week both downtown and in the rural areas of the city.

“And it stands to reason given how dry everything is,” he said.

His crews attended a fire in the downtown core on a vacant piece of property that was covered in blackberry bushes, and also a vehicle fire on Sunday in the 27700 block of Lougheed Highway that set the surrounding brush on fire.

There hasn’t been any measurable precipitation for about two and a half months, he explained.

“I’m just encouraging everybody just to be smart about what they are doing,” he said, emphasizing how great the potential is currently for a brush fire to occur.

Extra crews rushed out to the vehicle fire that took place at around 4 p.m. on Sunday – just because of the dry conditions.

The call came in as a fully-involved SUV in the north side ditch of the highway, said Van Dop.

“We did have a paid-on-call response from Fire Hall #2. We do that for tender response in order to have adequate water supply,” he said, noting the larger response was due to the brush fire aspect.

It is unknown what caused the vehicle fire, he said, However, no injuries were reported.

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The city-wide fire ban was issued Thursday, Aug. 4, and prohibits fires, including campfires, in Maple Ridge.

The ban does not include the use of CSA-rated or ULC-rated barbeques, camping type stoves, or portable campfire apparatus using camping gas, natural gas or propane, or briquette barbeques, on a person’s private property.

Also prohibited are fireworks, sky lanterns, binary exploding targets, bur barrels or burn cages of any size or description, and air curtain burners.

The ban will remain in place until Friday, Oct. 28, or until it is removed by the fire department.

Fines up to $1,000 can be handed out to those who disobey the ban.

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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