Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF) activists are facing scrutiny over campfires in the area around their latest protest camp.
ELF established a camp on Mount Elphinstone in June in an attempt to prevent harvesting on a cutblock known as A87125, which is near mountain biking trails and inside the area ELF wants to see added to the existing provincial park.
The camp is also in an area included in the campfire ban imposed by the Coastal Fire Centre on Aug. 17. Since then complaints about the protesters having a campfire have appeared on social media and been sent to Coast Reporter.
ELF’s Ross Muirhead said the complaints may be about a “secondary camp” not affiliated with the group, and that ELF volunteers have been following the ban.
He also said that they’ve been in touch with people at the other camp and an ELF volunteer was on hand when a Conservation Officer visited to confirm the fire in question was a cooking fire using charcoal briquettes.
The Conservation Officer Service has confirmed that they’ve been up to the camps to investigate, and plan to keep monitoring the situation. They also haven’t ruled out the possibility of issuing violation tickets.
Under the campfire ban, people are still allowed to use CSA or ULC-approved cooking stoves using gas, propane or briquettes or any “portable campfire apparatus” that uses briquettes, or liquid or gas fuel. In those cases the flame height must be kept at less than 15 centimetres.
Fines for violating a campfire ban are now $1,150, and anyone found at an illegal fire could be ticketed.
The ELF protest camp’s days could be numbered. The group expects the company that won the harvesting rights on A87125, Peninsula Logging, to apply to the courts for an injunction.
ELF is calling on its supporters to gather at the camp Aug. 28, where the plan is to stage a photo op and hang signs from some 200 trees that will read: “No Logging Destruction in the Elphinstone Park Expansion Area. Supported by the Sunshine Coast Regional District OCP Bylaw #641.”