When you are out and about in the backcountry, there are a few things you should keep in mind to stay safe and reduce the risk of further wildfires.
Sandra Riches, the executive director of AdventureSmart B.C. joined the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen during their Tuesday, Aug. 10 wildfire briefing to speak on some of the risks and ways to mitigate them.
“With the increase in outdoor recreation and everyone being impatient to get back outdoors again, there’s a lot of energy that would love to be spent in the mountains, and we have to be cautious and conscious of our decisions.
Those came down to their primary Three Ts, which they promote for wildfires, avalanche conditions and heatwaves alike.
Those are Trip planning, Training and Taking the essentials.
“What we were talking about here, if you are going on vacation and using an ATV or a mountain bike, hiking, planning a backcountry adventure of any sort or spending time in the wilderness, we’re strongly encouraging you to be acutely aware of your situation, including your exit plan,” said Riches.
For planning, that includes being aware of how close your destination and outdoor activities are to any currently active wildfires, and how to evacuate if they expand or if a new fire starts.
Being aware of nearby fires and ways to flee is especially important with the demand on search and rescue teams in the province. Across the entire province, according to Riches, there are 3,000 volunteers who respond to 1,900 calls in an average year.
During the wildfire season, those teams are also at the front of delivering evacuation orders to residences nearest wildfires, to the point where with the Nk’Mip wildfire those teams were spent and the Anarchist Mountain Volunteer Fire Department stepped up to ensure people in the area evacuated ahead of the approaching fire.
When it comes to taking the essentials, that includes packing food, water, and all of the appropriate gear for the activities people are looking to do.
Another point was to reconsider certain ventures, like ATVs or vehicles, it may be better to wait until the fall or for a change in the weather before going out. Trying another activity may be another option for people determined to get out and about.
“You know, we all want to get out there, but sound judgement is knowing when to turn around and save it for another day,” said Riches.
The full information on the Three Ts can be found by going to www.adventuresmart.ca/the-three-ts.
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