METRO VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Can you remember the last time it rained?

Thanks to this recent stretch of hot, dry weather, the fire danger rating across Metro Vancouver is high. As a result, you are being warned to be extra careful to avoid sparking a fire.

News1130 Meteorologist Russ Lacate says rainfall for August and September so far is 92 per cent below normal. On September 9th and 10th, we only saw three millimetres of rain. We only had 2.9 throughout all of August.

Abbotsford has a fire ban in effect until the end of the month, but it may be extended because of the weather. Deputy Fire Chief Mike Helmer says the last time he can remember having this much sun was quite awhile ago.

“It’s almost a decade; 2003 was a really dry year and that’s when the Kelowna fires occured and that’s similar to the Lower Mainland,” he tells us.

“Don’t just throw things out the window. Parking vehicles on grass, for example, can ignite fires with hot components,” he reminds us.

Following a brush fire over the weekend, the trails near Westminster Highway and Shell Road at Richmond Nature Park will stay closed indefinitely. Meanwhile, Bill Morrell with Metro Vancouver says you can still barbecue, but do it safely.

“For those people who smoke cigarettes, be very careful in how you dispose of them,” he adds.

The last significant rainfall we had was eight millimetres on July 23rd.

Butt out, don’t just flick out

Many smokers are having a tough time finding ashtrays in cars.

“The worst thing you can do is throw one out the window,” explains Automotive Journalist and long-time smoker Kevin “Crash” Corrigan.

He says some manufactures have stopped including them, especially in newer models.

“Some manufactures include it, or it is available from an accessory store. It’s a little ashtray with a flip lid, it sits in your coffee cup holder. But it is available.”

Even if there is not an option, Corrigan says you can simply pick one up for a few bucks at your local hardware store.

“I think if you’d ask most smokers, they would [say] they’d like to quit. Perhaps the car companies are helping us?”