It's usually the downside of a summer that's heating up.
The forest fire danger rating in Port Moody has been ratcheted to high, which means there is greater potential for a blaze in wild land areas of the city.
That possibility has Port Moody Fire-Rescue reminding residents this weekend to be careful and keep an eye out for any fire startups, especially around local lakes.
"With a lot of people at Sasamat Lake or Buntzen Lake, the potential is there for an accidental start," said Port Moody deputy fire chief Gord Parker, cautioning conditions are not at a point of panic just yet.
The hot spots most at risk include Port Moody's North Shore and the Westwood Plateau.
Those areas are considered southern exposure, which typically indicates they get more sun, leading to drier and hotter conditions.
Since the areas are on a slope, when a fire does break out, it often moves quickly uphill.
Parker explained the surface fuels in the forests are drying quickly thanks to the warm and dry weather from the past few weeks, which means something as small as a cigarette butt could ignite a fire.
The good news, the soggy start to summer means the heavier forest fuels are on the damp side and not as dry as normal for this time of year.
"As we continue on with this hot weather, the potential for a larger fire is starting to grow," Parker said.
The wet spring has also delayed the traditional start of the fire season.
Normally, the wildfire season runs from late July through September.
The fire department handles anywhere from a dozen to 30 wild land fire-related calls in a season.
So far, firefighters have responded to a few calls during the most recent dry spell.
While residents are asked to call 911 if they see a fire, the department does have some tips to keep small fires from growing into a larger blaze:
. Survey homes or complexes, looking for areas of fuel accumulation, including evergreen needles found in roof valleys and in gutters.
. Look for combustible materials stored around the house - on and under patio decks, or piled up against a house.
. Do not plant cedar or juniper hedges against a house and since bark mulch is also a fuel, avoid spreading it too close to a home.
. Smokers enjoying parks and trails should refrain from dropping cigarette butts on the ground.
. Use barbecues; do not light small cooking fires, even in your own yard.
. Only use approved disposal units for used charcoal briquettes, or wait until they are cold before throwing them out.
. Do not start open fires in parks or public spaces, unless you have a permit, and only if the weather conditions allow for it.
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