Crofton Fire Chief Rukus advises people to call immediately when they see smoke

Crofton Fire Chief Rukus advises people to call immediately when they see smoke

It’s better to act fast to help put out a fire

These tinder dry conditions require people to be extra vigilant to avert a disaster.

“If you see smoke, don’t hesitate,” advises North Cowichan Fire Department Crofton chief Ken Rukus. “Call it in.

“Right now, it’s really dangerous.”

The number to call in the event of fires, smoke columns or wildfire regulations is 1-800-663-5555 toll free or *5555 on a cell phone. When in doubt, you can also always call 911.

The quick action of the public can make the difference in extinguishing a fire before it gets away, like so many around the province this wildfire season.

Fortunately, the Cowichan Valley and Vancouver Island, as a whole, has not experienced much in the way of fire activity despite the conditions. That includes grassfires, house fires or fires of any other sort.

“We’ve been actually pretty quiet,” noted Rukus. “It’s been nicely quiet through this heat wave.

“The public’s done an amazing job by not starting anything.”

That doesn’t mean it’s time to rest on our laurels. The situation can change at a moment’s notice, especially if people are careless. There’s simply no excuse for human-caused fires if everyone takes the necessary precautions.

North Cowichan’s Crofton and Chemainus Departments have both sent firefighters to the Interior this summer to assist in the effort there. A spare truck from Chemainus was utilized, with revolving crews of four making the trip for a total of 12 to 16 members per department, including the South End and Maple Bay Halls.

Firefighters still must always remain at the ready for other potential calls.

“The worst ones are probably the car accidents,” said Rukus, whose basic duties as chief ensure there’s never really a dull moment.

“Every day your office is your phone, dealing with some part of the fire department,” he explained.

“It’s a pretty busy job. People don’t realize until you get into it how much work there really is.”

Once the summer season ends and the heat subsides, fire departments in Crofton and Chemainus will soon be getting into the annual Muscular Dystrophy Boot Drive. There’s also Fire Prevention Week in October when firefighters will be reminding people to check smoke detectors and take certain precautionary measures to limit the risk of fires.