Limit access to forest areas, step up enforcement

Thank you to all the firefighters fighting both the Skutz Falls fire and the more recent Copper Canyon fire which started Aug. 2, 2015.

Thank you to all the firefighters fighting both the Skutz Falls fire and the more recent Copper Canyon fire which started Aug. 2, 2015.

These firefighters were dragging heavy equipment up and down hills on days so hot most of us could not stand to be outside let alone beside a raging fire. We appreciate what you do immensely — your service is invaluable. I cannot thank you enough.

I heard that the cause of the Copper Canyon fire was someone burned a vehicle [Editor’s note: the cause of the fire has not been confirmed apart from the fact that it was human-caused]. We need to ask ourselves when conditions are tinder dry whether access to our forests is more important or saving our forests and possibly lives of firefighters and anyone else in the wildfire’s path is more important, not to mention the millions of tax dollars that go into fighting fires and the potential loss of homes.

I urge everyone that has concerns to petition:

Steve Thompson- Minister of Forestry, Lands and Natural Resources (FLNRO.MediaRequest@gov.bc.ca)

Alison Nicholson – board of directors at Cowichan Valley Regional District (anicholson@cvrd.bc.ca)

Ryan Dias – parks and recreation at CVRD (rdias@cvrd.bc.ca)

John Lefebure, mayor of North Cowichan and chair for CVRD (council@northcowichan.ca)

Bill Routley, MLA 250 387-3655. (ndp.caucus@leg.bc.ca)

Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia (premier@gov.bc.ca

Tim Neal, fire protection technician, Coastal Fire Centre Parksville (Tim.neal@gov.bc.ca)

Island Timberlands (info@islandtimberlands.com)

Patti Pearce, public affairs for Timberwest (pearcep@timberwest.com)

Ask that they limit access to our tinder dry forests. How else can we prevent vandalism and unwanted perpetrators into our pristine forest lands? Something needs to be done! Some things that we can all suggest strongly to our politicians and government officials might be:

• a gate on Hillcrest Road to block access during extreme dry conditions and/or personnel at a gate that allowed daytime access but records names of those entering and high fines if they do not comply with rules. This would be far less costly than fighting another fire.

• both an RCMP presence and a bylaw officer from the CVRD presence at Hillcrest Road especially during long weekends when forests are dry

• a substantial reward of say $20,000 (perhaps through Crime Stoppers) should be offered to anyone who turns in individuals who start cars on fire in our forests and has campfires when they should not. Again, I state this would be far less costly than fighting another fire and might be enough to have their associates turn them in

• put cameras in areas where these incidents typically occur to help with prosecution.

If we as individuals do nothing will anything change and what will be the cost?

 

M.D. Gravelle

Duncan