A brush fire rages in Surrey earlier this year.

Surrey sees record number of brush blazes

Fire crews have extinguished 270 grass fires so far this year – double the number they saw in all of 2014.

Surrey is burning at an unprecedented rate, as a continued heat wave and dry foliage has contributed to 270 brush fires so far this year.

It’s double the amount of blazes in Surrey in all of last year, and if the trend continues, Surrey fire crews will have to attend more than 450 brush fires this year.

Assistant Fire Chief Steve Robinson said it’s quite likely this city will see that many fires this year.

Last week alone, fire crews were called to 15 fires a day.

For the most part, city officials say the fires are completely preventable and the huge spike has prompted a warning from Surrey fire crews and the Surrey’s mayor.

“I urge all residents to use extreme caution at this time to prevent fires in our city,” said Mayor Linda Hepner. “With the unprecedented dry weather we’ve had this summer, it is incumbent that we all play our part to protect our parks and public spaces.”

Officials are urging Surrey residents to take the following measures in order to reduce the number of fires:

• Dispose of smoking materials properly and make sure they are completely extinguished.

• Don’t leave barbecues unattended and ensure they are turned off properly after you have finished using them.

• Explain to children the dangers of playing with and lighting fires.

• Properly dispose of bottles and broken glass you find outdoors to avoid them magnifying the sun’s rays and starting a fire.

The city says bylaw officials will be out in force this weekend to ensure people are adhering to a total fire ban.

Those caught, will be given fines of $200 and may face prosecution.

Robinson said it’s quiet likely the fire restrictions will remain in place at least until the water restrictions are lifted, which is expected to be by the end of September.

Anyone who sees people BBQing or having a fire in city green spaces, is urged to call the fire department at 604-543-6700 and if there’s a fire out of control, call 9-1-1 immediately.