Cumberland, like everywhere it seems, is hot and dry, and fires are presenting a problem.
At the latest council meeting, fire chief Mike Williamson gave an update on how busy it has been this summer.
“Our call volume is very high,” he said.
He said Cumberland Fire Department had 40 calls during the month, including first responder calls for health emergencies. Half were ambulance calls, he added.
The department had its share of brush fires though, which included a couple of mutual aid situations with the Courtenay department.
“This year we’ve had four pretty big bush fires,” he said. “None in the village thankfully, but they were fairly big.”
Williamson also informed council about the resources available, even on weekends. This includes a six-man crew and duty officer and extra patrol person, totaling eight people for the weekend.
“We have a good, fast response to anything that happens,” he said.
Still, even with recent rain, it has been a dry summer, and the fire chief cautions the risk is high.
“The land is still very dry,” Williamson said. “We’re still concerned about wildfire.”
They conduct regular patrols in the area. Many are visiting the area from places like Saskatchewan and California, using the community’s trails. On the one hand, this could pose a risk of someone starting a fire because of an errant cigarette. However, the good news from this, he said, is that means there are “more eyes” on the trails too. As of the meeting, they had only had two cases of people smoking on trails, and they were cooperative once told it is prohibited.
“This is like the best public response we’ve had,” he said.
Members of council did have concerns about activities such as road-building on forested land as a fire risk and suggested contacting the province about the issue.
Williamson also said he has been talking with cabin owners at Comox Lake about putting pumps on the property to help provide a quick response to small fires.
“They’re getting pretty fire-wise,” he said.