Smoke signals: fire signs come down across MoP

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Kate Aley

So.

I was driving from Shawville to Quyon recently and noticed that the fire danger sign at the intersection of Clarendon St. and Hwy. 148 is gone. Not just taken down for repairs. It's gone, gone, gone for good.

The sign at the intersection of Terry Fox and the 148 was obliterated by a sliding driver last winter, so I knew that one was out of commission, but had assumed it'd be reinstalled at some point before actual fire danger became a real risk.

I emailed Communications Officer for the Municipality of Pontiac, the long-suffering Dominic Labrie, and asked when I might see the sign restored.

He told me: "In fact, those signs are not mandatory. See Chelsea for example: [they have] no sign and frankly [they are] not useful: [the] information is available on our webpage or on [the] SOPFEU web page. We don’t have the resources to update them on a daily basis. I’m told [the] MRC fire chiefs will have a discussion soon about the MRC bylaw and the SOPFEU system."

What do you think? Personally, as a pyrophobic Australian, I need to see a fire danger safety sign outside each small rural town. It makes me hope that people might be sightly discouraged from having a 20-foot high bonfire when they see a 20-foot high sign with a big bloody arrow pointing to RED. But maybe I'm a pathetic Luddite and I need to be compulsively checking the online SOPFEU designation every eight minutes. Maybe, just maybe, I am over-thinking this. 

In other sign news, there is a lovely new Lions Club sign at the highway intersections of Ch. Clarendon coming from the west and Ch. Murray from the east, acknowledging the remarkable good works our Lions Club does for this community.

Rock on, Lions Club. Don't host any bonfires.

Comments

Regrettable

The Internet is a poor substitute for those signs. I am somewhat dismayed that this is not more widely understood.

Mr. Labrie is correct however in that the current signs were inaccurate and cumbersome to manage.

In the digital, wireless age, modern synchronized signs could serve as a visual reminder when starting a fire of any kind is a bad idea.

We can't relegate that important task to the Internet in the hope that people have the presence of mind to check the SOPFEU app. Tourist and day trippers most assuredly will not.

Ironically, we have all the resources here in the Municipality of Pontiac to be a ground breaking leader in this regard if we so chose.

The unimaginable result of one careless fire getting out of control in this area littered with brush is too far great to leave it to people in this hyper-paced world to take the time to check a smartphone app in areas with no coverage to guard against the risk of making a fire at the wrong time.

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