As the evenings begin to get cooler, many British Columbians will start lighting their fireplaces or wood stoves to help keep their homes warm. However, people who cut, collect or use firewood must ensure that it was harvested legally.
Before members of the public collect any firewood, they must first obtain a “Free Use Permit for Firewood” to verify that gathering firewood is allowed in that area and to ensure that they adhere to local regulations.
Cutting down trees on Crown land without an appropriate permit (or selling any such firewood) is an ongoing concern in British Columbia. This activity is illegal and could result in a violation ticket or fine.
Over the past 18 months, natural resource officers from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations have issued $14,878 worth of violation tickets related to unauthorized wood harvesting. The government has also collected $156,179 in administrative penalties from unauthorized commercial ventures.
Unlawful firewood collection can also create safety hazards for recreationalists and other forest users, and can negatively affect ecosystems – including fish and wildlife habitat.