On Saturday, May 28 from noon to 4 pm the Saturna Emergency Program volunteers will be conducting an exercise to practice evacuation for part of the island because of the discovery of a wildfire. This is a very real threat for Saturna and, already this month, visitors have lit fires when there is a ban on all outdoor fires. Cigarette butts have been dropped into dry grass and leaves. Each of us needs to do our part to educate both other residents and visitors.
We may not have as many people as Fort McMurray, but the whole island could be lost in a very short space of time and evacuation off island is much more complicated. It is our personal responsibility to know where possible marine evacuation sites are located, both close to our homes and other parts of the island we frequent regularly. Not all fires would require a total evacuation, some possibly to just another part of the island.
Another thing we can do is to clear all burnable debris from around our homes and other buildings. Also there is a recommended perimeter around buildings to keep clear of trees and other vegetation. A fire chief from Fort McMurray said many homes there would not have been lost if a rooftop sprinkler system had been installed: A raging fire sends embers a considerable distance and these start spot fires easily ignited on dry roofs.
MAKE SURE you have a Grab & Go bag packed and placed near your most frequently used exit door or keep it in the trunk of your car. If you need a list to guide your packing, there will be booklets and much other handout material available at the Rec Centre on May 28, starting at 12:30 pm. The team who will be practising setting up a Reception Centre there and registering “evacuees” will be glad to enlist you as a volunteer and supply you with whatever information you need. An added bonus is that the Southern Gulf Islands Coordinator, Brigitte Prochaska, will be there.
So be informed and share your knowledge. People who live in urban areas may have a false sense of security about fires and may be completely ignorant of how dry an island like this is, even though some water restrictions are already in effect for Vancouver, it is apparent that many folk do not realize the danger inherent in a fire on the beach or carelessly disposed of smoking materials. SPREAD THE WORD!
Thanks for being careful and caring about our island home.
POSSIBLE MARINE EVACUATION SITES FOR SATURNA
by Dawn Wood, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator
Please remember that only private roads or driveways provide access to beaches and water access on private property. When possible, request permission for emergency use, though wildfire may not allow additional time. Maintain an awareness of high and low tides. In ordered evacuations, boats such as the Coast Guard will be patrolling the island and Parks Canada have a landing craft vessel.
Shell Beach via Trillium Trail at East Point lighthouse site – no dock
Tumbo View public access at 699 Tumbo Channel Road – no dock
Ramp from boathouse to water at 685 Tumbo Channel Road (Paton & Boland)
Dock (summer) at 673 Tumbo Channel Road (Mackies)
Water and beach access from 232 and 230 Cliffside Drive (Welton & Osborne), also through 228 – public access trail
Gaines property “Four Winds” at 443 through 449 East Point Road: West Beach & Sandy Bay (Jones)
Fiddler’s Cove Beach – no dock
Echo Bay Beach – no dock
Narvaez Bay/Little Bay – no dock, but there is a dock at the Kaiser property at 205 Narvaez Bay Road
Taylor Point Beach – no dock
Saturna Beach – Strata and Winery docks + Page’s at 101 Trueworthy + Campbell dock at Thomson Park
Breezy Bay – has a dock
Boot Cove – several year round docks
Lyall Harbour – Government dock + Money’s Marina + beach at end of Sunset Boulevard
Veruna Bay – public access beach + Sewell’s dock + James White’s at 126 Winter Cove Road
Church Cove – no dock
Winter Cove - Yacht Club dock + boat ramp and dinghy dock in the Parks Canada area