Editorial: (Don’t) light my fire

Editorial: (Don’t) light my fire

Series of house fires around Quesnel worrying

We’re all a little sensitive to reports of fire these days.

But it seems the volunteer fire departments around town are being kept mighty busy with house fires this spring.

A Bouchie Lake volunteer fire fighter, Michel Robert, sent a letter to the editor this week, printed in Wednesday’s edition of the Observer, calling this “Home Fire Season” and saying conditions are ripe for fires in the Cariboo, as the weather warms up and the grass dries out.

It’s a relief to know that no home owner has been injured in the recent spate of property fires.

House fires are often preventable, with a little due diligence done and precautions taken, but it’s the unexpected causes that can make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

Take the apartment fire on Lark Avenue on April 8. The renter of the apartment told the Observer the investigator believes the fire to have been caused by either a faulty wall plug or an overheated laptop.

A fire from a faulty wall plug – that’s relatively common, and something that could potentially be noticed ahead of time, and repaired.

But an overheated laptop?

How often have you left your laptop sitting on your desk on top of a pile of papers after finishing up your household budgets or getting your daily Facebook fix? Who could predict the heat from a laptop could cause such devastation?

Fire fighter Robert urged residents to inspect their chimneys, check and disable outdoor heaters and begin outdoor clean-up of dry and dead grasses and brush. The B.C. government similarly advocates FireSmart initiatives to protect properties in dry seasons.

But it’s the unexpected overheating of a laptop, or a tinder-dry patch of grass sparked by a sun ray shining through a conveniently placed piece of glass that we need to keep in mind this season.

Aside from preventing man-made forest fires, we have relatively little control over the kinds of frightening large-scale wildfires caused by freak-of-nature lightning strikes.

When it comes to our homes, let’s keep those freak-of-nature, unexpected causes in mind, making sure electronics are kept away from potential fuel sources like paper files or flammable curtains, and the stove is never left unattended.

We can’t predict when disaster might strike, but we can do our best to protect our homes, belongings and, ultimately, our lives.

Melanie Law

Quesnel Cariboo Observer