The recent and forecasted warm and dry weather has increased the forest fire hazard.

Shaun Mason with the Forestry Department at the Municipality of North Cowichan says in order to limit motorized access into the Municipal Forest Reserve, the Mount Prevost, Mount Sicker, and Grace Road forestry gates will be locked as of 7:30 tomorrow (Wed) morning.

“When the gates are closed we are just restricted motorized access just to be proactive to minimize the risk of human-caused fires. Hiking and biking are still allowed, no issues there.”

He says keeping the mountains open for hikers and bikers in the summer is important.

“The large majority of the users are responsible users and during the summer it’s important to keep the mountains open for non-motorized access such as hiking and biking because a lot of these people are the first to spot and report the problem fire.”

Mason says the forest salvage operations will continue as planned, for now.

“The contractor is following the B.C. Wildfire Act and regulations having spark watch, as required, fire fighting equipment on site, water on site and when the fire hazard gets too high it will be shut down.”

Forestry gates on Maple Mountain, Mount Tzouhalem, and Mount Richards are closed year-round.

Overnight camping, campfires, and fireworks are not permitted in the Municipal Forest Reserve at any time.