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Check before you Burn - Tinderbox that is Nova Scotia

Check before you Burn
I recall one morning drinking coffee on the side deck, watching a buzz of activity by the crew who'd shown up that day to move the house forward. Nothing special about the activity; however, one guy who'd been actively puttering about with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth had stopped his productive activities. He stood on the short grass looking down as if to search for something then shift and repeat the process. The worker glanced at another worker, and so this other worker joins that first worker, who was now mostly transfixed upon the ground. The search was on but for what I did not know.

Being a take action type of guy I set the coffee upon the railing of the deck, placed my forearms upon it, leaned towards the men and asked the obvious question.... "What's up?". Well, they looked at me, at the ground and the one guy flicked the cigarette in his hand then continued to fixate upon the grass. Evidently at this point I should be fully aware of what what transpiring and maybe I should have been down on the lawn looking for something as well; however, I remained puzzled. "Okay, I'm missing something, what's up?", was my next attempt at communicating with the locals. Well, one worker looked to the other and the third worker looked to the first... it was all a very confusing set of non verbal communication going on and I was not in the loop. Eventually, yet another one of the crew took the time to explain the question of the day.

You see, while walking with a Cigarette in ones mouth, it is easy for the burning ember at the end to be jolted and fall out onto the ground. I don't smoke so, this was insightful. When I'd asked the first guy what's up, he'd flicked his cigarette; however, no smoke had been spewing from it and he still had it in his hand, so I gathered from his gesture that he'd lost the ember on the ground. Now, this ember could start a chain of unfortunate events and apparently it is highly probable that the ensuing fire would not erupt immediately. Apparently, all it takes is just a little smouldering ember to start the process and if one is unfortunate it could lead to a huge forest fire.

After a bit the search for the lost ember ended and the workers went back to work. The remainder of the morning unfolded without incident. Later that day, we had some Neighbours stop by to say hello and see what was happening at Welshtown Haven. Over the neighbourly discussion I mentioned the incident from earlier in the day in a dismissive manor only to be looked at very sternly. I was then schooled in some local history of the area. Apparently, the last time the local forest burnt down it had been tracked back to a resident using some yard equipment and metal hitting a stone causes a spark and yes, apparently, a spark is all that is needed to start a fire. It was local legend / lore of the area and all live in fear of another Forest Fire in the area.

Since then, we've watched the local news and the tinder box that is Nova Scotia has suffered from a number of forest fires. Some distant but some relatively close by. The local infrastructure is not equal to Urban or Suburban areas, South Shore Nova Scotia is for the most part Rural. Access to a water main few and far between in some places. During the dry season local streams and ponds dry up, Dug Well's go dry. By the end of a sweltering dry hot summer the deciduous trees have turned to fall colours, not due to frost but due to them going into a dormant state. Yes, it is that dry.

So, the topic for this weeks blog? Fire Safety and some of the basic stuff we all should know and respect when in Nova Scotia. First off is a simple Nova Scotia - Burn Safe Link that provides a map identifying the current restrictions. Next issue is Nova Scotia - Campfire Safety and yes, it is just that, a little refresher course on what's safe and what's not. Last but not least we'll pass along a link to Nova Scotia - Wildfire Statistics that provide insight on the damage forest fires do within the province.

Please, if you get a chance to vacation in Nova Scotia this summer, adhere to the current health guidelines. Be careful to follow any and all directions regarding Fire Ban's and Restrictions.

Have a safe, healthy summer.


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