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Municipal gates to Mt. Prevost and Mt. Sicker to remain open — for now

Forestry staff continue to monitor for wildfire risk during dry weather

North Cowichan has no immediate plans to close the gates and prohibit vehicle access to the logging roads on Mt. Prevost and Mt. Sicker despite continuing dry warm weather.

“I am monitoring closely,” municipal forester Shaun Mason told “Roadside vegetation continues to be lush/green which is often a good indication there is still some ground moisture.

“But that can change quickly, especially given the 14-day weather outlook of warm/dry weather.”

He added that a few scattered showers earlier in the week helped the situation.

The danger level is currently rated high in North Cowichan by the BC Wildfire Service.

The municipality typically closes the gates to prohibit vehicle access and reduce wildfire risk during hot summers, but continues to allow foot and bicycle access.


Updates about pending gate closures will be posted on the municipal website:

Evidence of illegal campfires associated with vehicle access is widespread on Mt. Prevost and Mt. Sicker. All manner of litter can be found at these campfire sites.

Council approved tougher penalties for forest violations two years ago, but enforcement remains a challenge.

According to a freedom-of-information document, the municipal bylaw department issued one fine for the period June 2021 to April 20, 2023. A $1,000 fine related to the offence of “discard large waste or refuse in forest” on Feb. 11, 2022. Further details were not immediately available.

In August 2018 an arsonist is thought to have caused a 5.9-hectare wildfire on Maple Mountain. According to a North Cowichan forestry report, fighting the wildfire cost the municipality $122,314 and the BC Wildfire Service about $210,000.

(Photos: illegal campfire and posted 'no campfires' sign on Mt. Prevost).

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— Larry Pynn, June 2, 2023

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