Backyard Burning is Closing

Backyard burning of yard waste will be closed on Sunday, May 23 at noon. Campfires will still be allowed.

In making the decision to close burning, we consider the weather forecasts, the current fire hazard conditions for areas around us, and in-person assessments of local forest conditions.

For reference, a campfire is a half meter in diameter and used for cooking, warmth, or ceremony. Below is an infographic that explains the different categories of open fire.

RIP Chief Dale Chase (ret)

Photo: Bob Cain (1984)

It is with great sadness that I report that Retired Fire Chief Dale Chase died suddenly on May 3rd. Dale was Fire Chief on Hornby Island for several years in the late ’90s. Under his watch, HIFR (then HIVFD) was a vibrant group with a full roster of 30 active members. Chief Chase attracted a crew of young, enthusiastic volunteers and ushered in an era of professionalism not often seen in remote rural departments at the time.

Dale’s knowledge of rope work from his caving experience was a huge asset to the Fire Department. Members learned how to safely conduct rope rescues on an island with many cliffs and terrible rock. The knowledge that Dale passed on has been put to the test many times over the years and there can be no doubt that he was integral in helping make the Hornby Island Fire Rescue the superb organization that it is today.

Rest in Peace, Chief. We’ll take it from here.

Club of 50 Awards

It is tradition at HIFR to acknowledge those volunteers who attended 50 or more calls in the previous calendar year. These awards are usually handed out at our Christmas party but we weren’t able to have a banquet this year.

With ten hours left before the year ends, here are the dedicated members of HIFR who went on at least fifty calls in 2020:

  • Lt. Rob Lewis with 74 calls
  • Deputy Chief Albini Lapierre with 51 calls
  • Paula Courteau with 56 calls

Join me in thanking them for their intense commitment to HIFR and our community.

We went to 170 calls in 2020 but HIFR members attended an astounding number of individual events. Adding up the total number of training sessions, practices, meetings, public service events, and call outs that we went to, I arrive at 1559 person-events!

Everyone here has a different reason for putting in the time that they do, but the support that we receive from our community is a driving factor for so many of us. Thank you and Happy New Year to all of Hornby Island!

Holiday Update: Personnel

Here at HIFR we mark anniversaries in half-decade increments. It’s disappointing that 2020 is a year we can’t get together and celebrate when there were so many long service anniversaries for us:

Fire Servcies Exemplary service Medal (Federal)
  • Faroe DesRoche: 5 years
  • Deputy Chief Albini Lapierre: 15 years
  • John Heinegg: 15 years
  • Sasha LeBaron: 15 years
  • Jeremy Paine: 15 years
  • Paula Courteau: 25 years

While all those anniversaries are notable, please join us in congratulating Paula on so many years of dedicated service to our island community!

Also notable is Sasha Lebaron will be retiring at the end of this year to spend more time with his family and to grow his business. Through his time at HIFR, he has served as Training Officer and Lieutenant and has spent dozens of weeks as duty officer .

In 2021, when we can get together again, we will have a proper celebration with letters from the Governor-General, medals, gifts, and handshakes. The dedication and commitment of our fire and first responder crew is inspiring.

Holiday Fire Safety

Happy Holidays everyone. A gentle reminder that once you have had your visits from Santa and given your loved ones some gifts; please do not burn your wrapping paper in your wood stove or fireplace.

Wrapping paper burns hot and the inks create extra particulate. We have had more than one post Christmas call for a chimney fire started by the burning of wrapping paper!

Have the best pandemic holiday possible this year and here’s hoping for a more normal 2021.

Fireworks cancellation

We are sad to announce that the fun and festive fireworks show that we have all come to enjoy at Halloween will not be happening this year.

As a department, we had a lengthy discussion about how we could continue the tradition in a safe manner that respected the COVID protocols laid out by the amazing Dr. Bonnie.

We realized that we didn’t have enough control over the event to ensure widespread safety, and we also want to be leaders in setting an example of respecting the appropriate distancing and crowd sizes.

We appreciate your understanding, and like you we look forward to a safer future and the resumption of “normal” times.