Extreme Fire Risk: Fire Ban In Effect

Written by on May 22, 2020

The risk of fire in both in Kahnawà:ke and Tioweró:ton has been elevated to extreme by The Kahnawà:ke Fire Brigade. With the lack of rain accompanied by a warm-dry weather forecast in the coming days, conditions are perfect for major fires to develop. Lieutenant Wihse Stacey saying:

“…because of the severe dry conditions, the lack of rain that we’ve had over the past little while and the expectation that the weather will remain the same for the next few days. Because of the lack of rain, all the vegetation is dry and given the global conditions, we understand that a lot of residents in Kahnawà:ke are using bonfires as a therapeutic way to heal, to get outdoors or even to just spend some family time and we don’t want to start saying: ‘no, please don’t do that,’ but we are saying: ‘please be safe’ and there are some very basic safety steps that people can do to keep safe.”

Meanwhile, Stacey adds that the situation is Tioweró:ton is, in some ways, even more serious because of the nature of the Territory:

“…alot of the vegetation there is coniferous, it’s pine, there’s spruce, it’s already vegetation that naturally will burn regardless of the time of year, the vegetation that’s up there I’ve seen burn in January and you don’t expect to see something like that when you’ve got 4 or 5 feet of snow on the ground already. So because of that fact, it’s going to spread very, very quickly. There’s a lot of people up there right now, there are a lot of cabins that will be at risk without the available water, obviously it needs to be shut in…so if you think about situations from a few years ago like in California or in B.C., you’re talking water bombers, you’re talking truck load after truck load after truck load of water and that’s an extremely difficult situation. And if you think about it from a firefighter’s perspective, we’re already wearing multiple layers of gear and now we’re dealing with temperatures that are 30 degrees, 35 degrees out and we have fire gear on that is designed to keep the heat in, so it can be very difficult for us.”

Additionally, the burning of debris and brush should not be taking place during this fire-ban period.

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