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Elphinstone Chronicles: Wildfire warning shot last weekend

Also, ham radio field day is Saturday
Graham Webb, Jamie Webb and Chris Facchin, members of the Gibsons and District Volunteer Fire Department.

Things are heating up in Elphinstone, even with that brief touch of rain we received at the beginning of the week. That rain came with some thunder and lightning, and the upper part of Area E woke up to a forest fire June 18 just south of the Highway 102 trail and north of Chaster Creek. That’s your warning shot, people, because luckily that forest fire was extinguished within a couple hours of discovery. 

Although we were fortunate this one was small I thought I would reach out to my old pal, Gibsons fire chief Rob Michael, to get comments. When he said this fire was out of his jurisdiction, I knew I wasn’t going to get the epic story of another slain wildfire out of him this time. But rather than squander a chat with such a busy guy, I asked him what’s on his mind as we approach yet another dry summer. 

“I would take the opportunity to promote the FireSmart program,” said Michael, which is a Canada-wide program that offers a free assessment for your property to reduce fire damage in the community, including how to take action to protect your home from wildfire threats. You can learn more or find out how to claim your assessment on the SCRD website

A concern Michael sees repeating itself is misinformation on social media regarding official fire information. People mean well, but the best-intended people don’t understand the different regulations across jurisdictions. There is a difference between asking advice online on the trivial, versus asking advice on the consequential. Inquiring about a beachfire with your buddies may seem in the same realm as inquiring about an instapot recipe you found on TikTok, but it’s more along the lines of asking for medical advice when you should be asking your doctor. Michael implores people to contact their local fire department, rather than posting questions online. “A good example is the recent fire on Mount Elphinstone,” Michael told me. “While people were busy sharing social media posts noting the small wildfire, the Coast Reporter already had an article declaring the fire to be out.” 

On the forest fire front lines, Michael wants to give a shout out to the crew and a truck they deployed in mid-May to assist with a forest fire near Fort St. John. The local departments have done a great deal of wildland and structure protection training leading into this year’s season. I think residents of the Sunshine Coast are all grateful we have brave people from our community out there helping protect homes and battle wildfires. 

In other Elphinstone news, this Saturday, June 24, the Sun Coast Amateur Radio Club Society (SCARCS) is doing Field Day at Maryanne West Park next to Cedar Grove school. Every June since 1933, more than 40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations to demonstrate ham radio’s science, skill and service. Field Day combines emergency preparedness, community outreach, public service, and technical skills all in a single event. From 10-4 p.m. you’re invited to come watch the SCARCS in action. “Field Day is amateur radio’s open house as radio operators go out in the field and try to make as many contacts as possible,” says Robert Beaupre, president of the SCARCS. “Extra points are awarded for using alternate power and for interacting with the community.” Come get your ham on! 

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