Off The Grid

Living off the Grid on a west coast island

lesson learned, again


Living off grid on an island there is always concern about fire. There are about 80 houses on the island. Water is at a premium. Many of the houses only have rain catchment systems. Most are on cliffs overlooking the water…. not right beside it.

A few years ago a group of dedicated islanders formed a volunteer fire department. They built a fire hall by donation and bought a used fire truck from a nearby town. Every second week during the summer they hold fire practices. They run scenarios.. What if there is a fire at ___ ? How would they attack it? The main purpose of their response to a fire is to contain it until BC Wildfire Management can get here. E is one of the volunteers and on a side note, our son is a BC wild-fire fighter. We are very aware of the dangers of open fires.
After June 1st there is a ban on open fires here. Back in the day we could sit around campfires at night. Those days are over. Sometimes kayakers light fires on the beach and they are approached and informed of the rules.  Last year my sister-in-law went kayaking around the island beside us on a day after a long weekend. They found three unattended fires burning. Kayakers had left the area after they thought their campfires were out.

Last Thursday, we had what will be our last burn pile of the winter. We have had some huge ones in the rainy weather. Last weeks was small in comparison. It burned itself out and we let the ashes lay where they were until I felt they were ready to be added to my compost pile. I threw some pieces of wood I found outside the garden on it yesterday, thinking they could just stay there until the winter cleanup began.

We have had quite a bit of rain since the burn. Last Sunday (four days after the fire) it was torrential. I know cause we were on the boat and got soaked. It has rained two or three days since. So today, Wednesday I planned to put the ashes in the compost after lunch. .

E brought my lunch to the garden and as we sat under the umbrella enjoying the flowers and planning the vegetable garden we looked over at the burn pile and it had reignited.. Six days after it was “out” and after several rain storms…

april 30 031



lesson learned, again

Author: Off Grid Islanders

We are a retired couple living on an off grid island on the West Coast

4 thoughts on “lesson learned, again

  1. Yikes! good lesson.

  2. This is a good story for Tidelines!

  3. After many years of burn piles, I have learned that it’s necessary to cool the pile down AFTER the fire by pulling the ashes away from the centre of the pile with a rake to cool it down, and put on lots of water otherwise the heat can’t get out. There’s a technique here and maybe I’m not actually doing it the right way, but there’s definitely a need for a lesson on how to cool down the smouldering pile of ashes.

    • Yup we had done all that…. It was weird indeed…. You remember the rain on saturday night and sunday???? Owl lane still hasnt dried out…… Oh well:(

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