As the nights get colder and longer, more people are lighting their fireplaces to help stay warm. But do you know where your firewood comes from? Was it legally harvested?
Cutting down trees on Crown land without the appropriate permit and then selling the logs as firewood is a serious problem throughout the province. This activity is illegal and could result in a violation ticket of $173 (or more, if significant environmental damage occurs). It can also create safety hazards for recreationalists and other forest users, or have a negative effect on ecosystems and fish habitats.
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 the people who actually cut the wood. Over a dozen individuals were caught and issued fines in the South Coast Region over the past year, had their vehicles seized and had loads of firewood confiscated.
Firewood that comes from Crown land or private land in the South Coast Region and is bought or sold without proper documentation may be seized by natural resource officers.
The public can do its part to stop illegal cutting by only purchasing firewood from legitimate producers. If you buy firewood, ask whether the wood comes from Crown land or private land and insist on receiving a copy of the sellerís load slip (transportation documentation).
If you want to cut firewood on Crown land for personal use, you can obtain a permit online at: www.for.gov.bc.ca/dsc/Permits/Firewood.htm
through a Service BC Centre with locations listed at: http://www.servicebc.gov.bc.ca/locations/ or by contacting the Sunshine Coast District office in Powell River at 1-604-485-0700.