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By Melissa Renwick, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

After many parts of B.C. experienced record-breaking temperatures, a province-wide fire ban was implemented from June 30 through to Oct. 15.

Around 88 per cent of the 337 wildfires that occurred between April 1 and June 24 were caused by people, according to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Despite the fire ban, Timmy Masso said he has been “truly disgusted” to see the number of illegal campfires along the logging roads off Highway 4 leading to Winchie Creek Hydro.

At least once a week, Masso accompanies his father, Trent, to the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation-owned hydropower facility. As the plant operator, Trent regularly monitors its operations.

Now, part of the job consists of picking up garbage, burnt firewood and extinguishing abandoned fires left behind by campers, said Masso. Some fires sit only five to 10 feet away from the bush, he added.

“So much of B.C. is on fire right now and I really don’t want that to happen to our west coast,” he said. “The abandoned fires could easily get out of hand and spread to the forest.”

Any local or tourist lighting fires at this time is “irresponsible,” said Masso.

“This is my territory and it’s my dad’s territory and we’re trying to keep it safe and keep it protected for future generations,” he added.

This item is reprinted with permission from the Ha-Shilth-Sa. For the complete article, click HERE

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