The expected 20 millimetres of rain never showed up Saturday, leaving Maple Ridge’s forests and fields just as parched and tinder dry as before.
“We got five millimetres of rain. We got a third to a quarter of what was originally forecast,” Maple Ridge fire chief Howard Exner said Monday.
Forest fire danger ratings in the Metro Vancouver area have been at the extreme level in recent weeks.
The drought conditions had firefighters rush to three grass fires on the weekend, one at Dewdney Trunk Road and 228th Street, another at Lougheed Highway and 228th Street, and a third at the Haney Bypass and River Road.
Firefighters didn’t give out any tickets for anyone having illegal campfires or refuse fires during the complete burning ban that’s in place, but they did get four calls from people reporting what they though were illegal campfires.
It turns out, though, that the fires were actually propane-powered portable fire pits, which are still allowed to be used during the ban, providing the flame height doesn’t exceed 15 centimetres.
Propane barbecues and campstoves are also still allowed during the ban.
Exner expected the fire danger to remain high for the rest of the summer, unless heavy rains arrive that sometimes accompany the PNE.
Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue ticketed four people for having campfires in the first week after the ban was imposed, July 7.