Seasonal observations of an ever changing coastal landscape 
by Bold Bluff host Tamar Griggs 

Extreme Fire Hazard Warnings and Bold Bluff Fire Drill

Date: 9/7/03
Time: 9:45:14 AM
Remote Name:


'Unprecedented' fire hazard closes island parks. That is the headline of our local newspaper, the Driftwood, on Wednesday September 3rd. The Gulf Islands are tinder-dry. It is scary to even walk through the woods. The Ministry of Forests ordered BC PArks to close and restrict use of more than 400 parks in southern parts of the province. There is a $10,000 fine and 3 months in jail if caught in the restricted areas. The only open portion of the Burgoyne Bay protected area is the road through the park to the Government Wharf. We can still get home and drive to our Village, Ganges, and our guests can still come to Bold Bluff Retreat. People are urged to use extreme caution. For our guests,that means NO FIRES inside or out, no romantic candles, (BOO! We are SO sorry!) no lighting of a match except inside Salty's and outside in the Tipi kitchen for the propane stoves, and as always: NO SMOKING. This is uncharted territory: things haven't been so dry in 100 years. We had a hilarious and painstaking Fire Drill here on September 4th. My staff, Maiya and Kelly, insisted that we go through every inch of the system and answer all the 'what if...?' questions. First, we 3 women had to cut back the vines and bushes that grew all over our "Fire Hose Shed", and that twined INSIDE the shed, around the hoses coiled neatly in circles. We tossed the rolled up hoses out and they tumbled in confusion to the ground, discovering that is not the best way to store a hose. Then we hooked up the hoses, learning some had corroded in their aluminum 'couplings'. We phoned Lloyd, a volunteer firefighter in Sidney, to see if we could put 3-and-1 oil on the couplings, and he said yes, just bang it with a hammer and do a little dance! We couldn't budge the stuck couplings, even with the hammer and dance. We stretched the hoses out, turned on the electric pump in the damp pump house by the reservoir, flipped the valve to the hoses and ran up the orchard, spraying giant rainbows of fresh water on the parched earth. We discovered we needed 2 megaphones to communicate clearly. We checked out the salt water fire pump on the dock. We went through each room in the Lodge B&B, discovering which windows opened, and Maiya, whose dad was the Fire Chief on one of the Gulf Islands, and who was relentless in her questioning, MADE me crawl through my bedroom window and jump out. At 61 years old, I must say that I am quite limber, and I easily squeezed and jumped out through a small window opening. I laughed and said, "That's IT! BYYEEEEE! I've had enough"! Three hours later, my head was swimming, and I needed a swim - badly. So Kelly and I stripped on the dock and dove headfirst into the seaweedy-jellyfishy ocean, popping up and laughing it was so good!Maiya stood on guard, watching for sea monsters. I am thankful Maiya was persistent! We all feel better, and we will be streamlining our fire system in the near future.

       Last changed: January 26, 2012