Crisp fall weather is beginning to creep up on West Shore residents as more and more chimneys begin to show the telltale signs of the temperature change.
With the official start of fall just around the corner, the provincial government is reminding residents with wood-burning fireplaces to make sure they are collecting wood legally before venturing into the wilderness.
B.C. residents must obtain a “free use permit for firewood.” The application process ensures that permit holders know where gathering firewood is permitted and helps people adhere to local regulations.
The cutting of trees on Crown land without a permit and the sale of that wood are ongoing concerns for the province. During the last 18 months, natural resource officers from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations have issued almost $15,000 in violation tickets relating to unauthorized harvesting. And more than $156,000 has been collected in administrative penalties from unauthorized commercial ventures.
To help stop illegal harvesting, the province is asking residents to do their part when purchasing firewood by asking where the wood came from and requesting a receipt for the purchase.
The province also reminds residents that unauthorized wood collection can also create safety hazards for recreational users of an area, as well as other forest users. It can also negatively impact ecosystems, including fish and wildlife habitat.
Permits are free and allow residents to collect and transport firewood from eligible Crown land for personal use. Online applications are available at bit.ly/2comQjc.