Fireworks set off in Phase 4 despite extreme fire hazard

Cpl. Markus M√ľntener

Gabriola RCMP Detachment Commander

Tuesday, July 7 2015

On July 4, 2015 at approximately 2 am in the morning Gabriola Island RCMP responded to numerous reports of fireworks in the area of Phase 4. Gabriola Fire Department were not initially requested by callers. Police attended the area and located a residence where a male approached police and self identified themselves as the party involved. Police were able to determine that some fireworks had been lit off and the area was now doused in water with no signs of any other fireworks or areas of obvious concern for an actual fire. The male was apologetic and warned by police of possible fines should the incident occur again. The Gabriola Fire Department will also be following up with the home owner in relation to this call.

Gabriola residents and visitors should be reminded of the extreme fire hazard on Gabriola Island. Nanaimo has been battling numerous fires within its city limits in the past few days that has taxed emergency resources there. Any type of wildfire on Gabriola could have a catastrophic and long lasting impact on the community. Emergency resources on Gabriola would very quickly become overwhelmed.  As of July 2, 2015 the entire Province of B.C has a campfire/open fire ban in effect.  There are significant monetary fines under the Wildfire Act which police can issue in relation to individuals found breaching this ban. A person for instance discarding a cigarette butt in hazardous areas under current conditions could be subject to such fines. Monetary fines issued on the spot can vary from $115- $575, while more significant or extreme circumstance allow for formal charges under the Wildfire Act which could result in fines up to $1,000,000 or three years imprisonment. The cost of fighting a wildfire could also be charged back to the individual/s responsible under the act. The Gabriola Island RCMP will be moving forward with a zero tolerance policy in relation to persons violating the current fire ban.