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Life on the Lake

Here are some bits of helpful information for life on and around Pike Lake. Let us know if you see any info online that your Pike Lake neighbours might be interested in seeing. 

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Fire safety and forest fire prevention
 
The fire triangle

 

Three things are needed to start a fire: heat, fuel and oxygen. This is also called the ‘fire triangle’. Fire is the result of a chemical reaction known as combustion, which happens between oxygen in the air and fuel (e.g. trees, grasses, shrubs) that has been heated to the temperature at which it will ignite (the ‘flash point’). Once a fire starts, it will keep burning as long as it has heat, oxygen and more fuel.

 

                                                        The fire triangle (image source: Ontario.ca)

 

How do forest fires start and spread?

 

In Canada, nearly half of forest fires are caused by lightning strikes. While wildfires do occur naturally, and are an important part of the fire cycle, most are caused by human activities (e.g. unattended campfires, discarded cigarettes, arson).

 

Research shows that human-induced climate change creates warmer, drier conditions, leading to longer and more active fire seasons. Climate change has led to increased global temperatures, which dries out fuel and makes fires more likely to start and spread.

 
Did you know?

 

             The average temperature during the summer of 2023 was the hottest ever on record in Canada.

                               

   In fact, 2023 is very likely to be the warmest year – so far – for the past 125,000 years.

         As the climate continues to warm, we can expect increasing wildfires, more intense droughts

and hurricanes, and more intense heat waves.

 

Weather conditions and landscape features can impact how fast and far fires spread. Wind can supply fire with additional oxygen, helping it to burn and spread, and can also spread embers that start fires in locations far from the fire. Fire can spread quickly in the right conditions – heat rises, so a fire that starts at the bottom of a slope can move quickly up it. Fires can even move underground, burning dead and dried out vegetation and/or peat. Sometimes ground fires can smoulder all winter underground and then emerge at the surface again in spring.

 

Campfire etiquette

 

Select a site with easy access to water, sheltered from prevailing winds. Look for a patch of sand or gravel (mineral soil). An area of bedrock is even better. Ensure your fire is at least three metres away from any logs, stumps or overhanging trees, and 15 metres away from any building or forest debris that may catch fire.

 

Never leave your fire unattended. Per the Tay Valley Township, every person who starts a fire must:

  • Take all reasonable steps to keep the fire under control;

  • Ensure that a responsible person is tending the fire at all times;

  • Drown the fire before leaving the site of the fire for any period of time whatsoever.

 

How to properly douse a fire (from the Tay Valley Township):

  • Begin by thoroughly drowning your fire with water as soon as possible after use. The ground will cool faster and the hazard to surrounding trees or shrubs will be greatly reduced.

  • Stir the ashes with a stick to uncover hot coals. This will cool the fire faster and allow water to soak in better. Move the rocks to uncover embers.

  • Drown it again! Make doubly sure the fire is dead out before you leave the site or retire for the evening.

 

Sources (not for inclusion in Pike Lake Post)

Natural Resources Canada – Forest Fires

Environment Canada – Canada’s top 10 weather stories of 2023

Ontario – Wildland fire behaviour

Tay Valley Township - Campfires

Watersheds Canada – Wildfire cycles and ecosystem regeneration in Canada

NC State College of Natural Resources - Explainer: How wildfires start and spread

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – Wildfire climate connection

Hazard Buoys

In 2018, volunteers of the Pike Lake Community Association prepared and placed hazard

buoys in 18 locations on Pike Lake to mark the location of rocks or shoals on Pike Lake.

Thanks to the input of Pike Lakers, additional buoys were placed in 2019, and 2020 and

three more were placed in August 2021. We now have a total of 27 buoys. 

 

All hazard buoys are:

  • Placed in areas of the lake identified as the most dangerous

  • Yellow in colour

  • Identified with the letters "info@pikelake.ca"

  • Respect the guidelines set out by Transport Canada &

      the Canada Shipping Act

 

Every effort is being made to mark some lake or waterway hazards, however the

Pike Lake Community Association is not responsible to ensure all hazards are marked

or continue to be marked. 

Individual operators of a watercraft and snowmobilers are solely responsible for their safety, 

including the avoidance of any water hazard and buoys.

 

Operators should keep a 30 meter distance from the hazard buoys as water currents and ice movements could shift buoys from their original placement.   

 

The buoys are deployed in the spring, on or before the third weekend in May and removed by the first week in October. 

Some buoys may stay in year round for the safety of snowmobilers if rock is near the water surface in October. 

If you would like to volunteer, know of a location where there should be a buoy, notice a missing buoy, or find a buoy that has come loose please contact us by clicking here

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Fire Service Presentation

At the 2022 Annual General Meeting of the PLCA, Darren Gibson, Deputy Chief of the Drummond North Elmsley Tay Valley Fire Service gave members an informative and important presentation on Fire Safety and Prevention. 

You can find Darren's presentation full of great information clicking here.  

The following are the key points of his presentation that are particularly relevant to cottage/lake home owners:

Smoke Alarms – should be in all sleeping areas, don’t forget to have one in your bunkie. 

CO2 Alarms – you need if you have gas, oil, propane or wood-burning heating systems.

Fire Extinguishers – choose one that is for all 3 different classifications of fire.

Storage of flammable materials – clearly identify location of propane tanks for firefighters, do not store firewood under the cottage.

Calling 911 – because of remote location of cottages, be sure to have the directions to the cottage handy and make sure guests know where to find the directions.

Prevention – keep trees pruned and cleared back from your cottage, ensure eaves are free of leaves/needles, create a fire break with gravel or stone walkways.

Fire Pit – pick a site close to water source, sheltered from wind, 10 meters from structures, open space above fire (2 meters), create clear space (2 meters) around fire scrapped right down to rock or soil, keep fire-fighting tools nearby (bucket of sand/water shovels, and a garden hose).

Fire permits – free permits required for all open-air burning, not required if contained campfire is used to cook food, application available on-line at dnetv.burnpermits.com

Fire bans – ban info avail at 613-267-2596, or you can subscribe to get notices on Tay Valley website.

Prepare for fire apparatus access – ensure your address number is visible from the road (and water side since DNETV has water access equipment), ensure your trees are cut back for large fire vehicles (at least 12 ft wide by 12 ft high).

 

Spring Opening Checklist:

  • Replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

  • Blow the leaves out from under the cottage and the eaves and roof.

  • Rake all the dead leaves and pine needles around the buildings and put them well back into the forest where they will naturally decay back into dirt (do this several times during the season if necessary). 

  • Unscrew all electrical outlets and light sockets and vacuum them out (mice and insects can build nests in electrical boxes).

  • Review your lot to ensure shrubs and tree limbs are not encroaching towards your cottage or road access.

  • Ensure your fire pit is on solid rock, or brick around and underneath. Remove any weeds that have grown close (fire can travel underground and catch fire on a nearby tree if precautions are not taken).

  • Keep on hand rakes, shovels, axes, garden hoses, and roof ladders as great aids in suppressing fires.

 

Here are some resources you may find useful:

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Watch your Wake 

Here are some excerpts from a paper written by a Pike Laker on the impact of boat wake. As the paper noted, we may not all be as familiar with the impact of boat wake as with the rules of water safety and responsible boating. You can read the complete paper here

Impact of Boat Wake 

  • The larger the wake, the greater the potential for undesirable side effects. 

  • Wake can drown the nests and young of Loons, & other birds.

  • Inexperienced swimmers & young children can be toppled by the size & energy of boat wake.

  • Boat wake & prop wash can churn up sediments in shallow water which releases dormant nutrients that promote weed growth & algal blooms.

  • Boat wake can cause erosion, particularly in Grants Creek.

  • Boat wake can cause docks & moored boats to rock severely.

 

How You Can be Wake Wise 

  • Be aware of the size of your wake during displacement, transition & planing speeds. 

  • Position your passengers through-out the boat in order to reduce the time spent in transition speed .

  • Look behind you to see & understand the impact of your wake on shorelines, docks or other structures. Adjust your speed & direction to minimize the impact. 

  • Respect the shoreline zone. Reduce your speed to less than 10 km/h within 30 metres of any shore including the narrow channels between the islands & in Grants Creek. 

  • Water-ski, tube, & wake-board well away from all shorelines. Try to make use of the entire length of the lake. 

  • Consider the size of the wake produced when purchasing a new boat for Pike Lake. 

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