Provincial officials are on the hunt for people selling illegal firewood.
This year is following last year’s trend of rapid illegal firewood harvesting in the Sea to Sky Corridor, said Bob Cunneyworth, a Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations’ natural resource officer.
“There are still quite a few people doing it,” Cunneyworth said.
In February 2012, illegal tree-falling caused safety concerns for the public and ministry officials. The unsanctioned harvesting was being done by people who didn’t know how to correctly fall trees, a compliance and enforcement officer said at the time.
“It really surprises me I haven’t found somebody stuck under a tree,” Don McDonald said.
On a positive note, this year more residents have applied for the ministry’s free firewood permits, which specify where one can go for firewood, Cunneyworth said. The application system helps the ministry educate people about harvesting rules and gives the province an idea of how much volume is acquired.
The free firewood permits aren’t intended for commercial use. As with the firewood permits, commercial tenders can be obtained through the Squamish Forest District office at 42000 Loggers Lane or online at www.for.gov.bc.ca/dsc/Permits/Firewood.htm.
Cutting down trees and then selling the logs as firewood could result in a violation ticket of $173, ministry spokesperson Brennan Clarke said. The amount of the fine rises quickly if environmental damage is done.
A vehicle involved in the transportation of illegally cut firewood may be seized and the driver may be held liable for fines beyond those issued to people who actually cut the wood, Clarke added. Last year in the South Coast Region, more than a dozen individuals were caught, fined and had their vehicles seized, he said.
Citizens can do their part to stop illegal cutting, he said. When buying firewood, insist on receiving a copy of the seller’s load slip. Report violations to the Sea to Sky District office at (604) 898-2100.