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Firewood for sale during ban: Hope resident asks why

Gas stations still offer wood fuel for fires during a bad B.C. fire season

The sale of firewood bundles by local businesses during an active fireban is frustrating a Hope resident, especially with multiple highways passing through Hope, and gas stations lining Old Hope Princeton Way.

“I’d like to know why the local gas stations in the Lower Mainland are actively selling firewood during a fire ban,” Teri Gougeon wrote in an email to The Standard.

“I’m a community member; I live in Sunshine Valley. My community is doing everything we can (to prevent accidental fires), but I can go 10 minutes down the road and buy a bundle of firewood.

“I just find it so troubling that somebody can come into my community, after we’ve done all we can (to save it), and start a fire with a $9 bundle of wood,” Gougeon said.

Efforts have included, at least for Gougeon, email exchanges with head offices of local gas stations.

“7-Eleven was awesome to deal with,” she said. The store now displays signs above its wood bundles alerting customers it was not for sale during the ban.

Others are not in the same mindset.

The gateway between the Lower Mainland and the interior of the province involves tens of thousands of tourists pass through Hope each year. The local visitor centre has clocked 50,000 visitors in a single year.

With that sort of traffic, it was an easy decision for the manager of the local Shell to pull firewood sales this year when the ban became effective.

Manager Tim Young said, “It just makes sense – if you have the wood there, people are going to use it.

There is no mandate around the sale of firewood at any time.

Hope Fire Chief Tom DeSorcy said his department does not have any jurisdiction.

“The prohibition is against having fire, not selling items that burn.

“For those purchasing wood bundles, whether (they) plan to violate the ban or not, rest assured people are watching you in the store, and will likely draw their own conclusions,” DeSorcy added.

To report a wildfire or irresponsible behaviour that could start a wildfire, please call 1 800 663-5555 or (*5555 from a cell phone) as soon as possible.


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