LETTER: Before we burn

When our city is threatened by fire and it will, we must be fire safe and prepared. Apparently, due to a lack of funds to buy or rent a wood chipper, the city is not removing the wood from trees and shrubs that they are cutting down.

The fire department tells me they are not concerned with alder or maple because it does not burn like evergreen wood. All wood burns!

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Our province is facing some of the worst fire seasons on record. Leaving cut trees and thousands of saplings and bushes, in my mind, is irresponsible and extremely dangerous. Dry wood of any kind burns.

Our premier has asked cities and residents to be fire safe. The city is not doing its part to be fire safe.

I find it mind-boggling that Squamish cannot afford to rent or buy a woodchopper and thinks it is OK to cut down trees and shrubs and just leave them. They are an eyesore and fire fodder that threatens Squamish.

Check out your neighbourhood and report tinder left by the city and ask for a wood chipper.  The city needs a policy that all trees and shrubs the city cut down must be removed for our safety.

It is also a disgrace to make our entrance trail to the Squamish Estuary look like a war zone. This trail was the top recommended trail for visitors to explore while I was the co-ordinator for Eagle Watch. It now consists of blocks of cut trees, saplings, and bushes and it looks disgraceful. This is the trail where the Mamquam River and Squamish River meet and the first paths into the estuary. It is accessible to a wood chipper.

Bruce Matthews

Squamish

Editor’s note: The Chief asked the District of Squamish about this and we were sent the following response: Squamish Fire Rescue appreciates Mr. Matthews’ attention to this, and the Deputy Fire Chief met with him at the site to discuss his concerns. Due to its location between the river and a gravel dike, this brush is considered a lower fire danger risk when compared to other areas of need. Available resources are currently focused on chipping and debris removal in higher risk areas in the wildland-urban interface. Staff are looking at possible ways to expand the budget for this type of work in the 2020 budget requests for council consideration.

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