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Nelson Fire Chief shares heatwave safety tips

The Nelson Daily Staff
By The Nelson Daily Staff
June 27th, 2021

Nelson Fire and Rescue Chief Len MacCharles said with the mercury in the thermometer reaching 41 degrees over the next few days, it is important that residents and visitors recognize the need to stay cool to safely manage the heat and to be extra careful to prevent human-caused wildfires.  

MacCharles said during the heat wave daytime highs are expected to reach 41 C with nighttime lows dropping to about 20 degrees.

“These prolonged high temperatures raise a lot of concerns starting with how dangerous the heat can be for many, especially for seniors and children, the homeless population and those with heart or respiratory challenges or diabetes,” MacCharles said in a media release Saturday.

“As well, these hot dry days will drive fire risk up very quickly making our community more susceptible to wildfire – so we need everyone, especially those using the forested areas, to be extremely careful to not start fires fire from vehicles, ATVs, campfires, smoking materials and fireworks.”  

MacCharles said the public should stay cool by ensuring fans or air conditioners are working properly and to close blinds and windows in the morning to help keep the heat out throughout the day. 

He said the public should consider finding a cool indoor space for the hottest parts of the day at public buildings or retail outlets or go to one of the City’s parks such as Rotary Lakeside Park, Gyro Park or Cottonwood Falls Park to find shade or to the Spray Park at Lion’s Park. 

“Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and frequently check in with friends, family, co-workers and especially your senior neighbours to make sure they are cool and hydrated,” MacCharles said.

“Keep cool by wearing loose-fitting light-coloured breathable clothing, drinks lots of water, taking cool showers or baths, and saving strenuous outdoor activities for cooler days.”

MacCharles said most importantly, call 911 immediately if anyone is showing signs of heat stroke and don’t forget about pets and the importance to have cool place for them to rest and have plenty of water.

“Everyone to take extra care and caution to prevent fires,” MacCharles said.

“Our spring hasn’t been as wet as we had hoped and with temperatures increasing over the past few weeks and now this extended heat wave going into the 40’s, I am concerned our fire risk will reach extreme – and it’s still June.”  

MacCharles said BC Wildfire has banned all class 2 and 3 burning for the entire region and the City of Nelson does not permit campfires or the sale or use of fireworks. 

He added that residents are asked to call 911 immediately to report any signs of smoke. Residents are also encouraged to call Nelson Fire & Rescue Services (250) 352-3103 to request a free FireSmart Assessment of their home.

MacCharles saidiIt is important to remember hot embers from a nearby wildfire can travel up to 2 kms and ignite combustibles next to structures so at minimum, remove anything that can burn for at least 1.5m from your home.  

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