Terrace resident Vince Heslenfeld asks city council to consider amending current fire prevention bylaw to allow for two burn days a year for forested residential properties. (Brittany Gervais photo)

City considers changes to its burn bylaw

Terrace resident says residential ban doesn’t lower fire risk

A Terrace resident is asking the city to review its residential burn ban, calling the current year-wide restrictions too harsh to properly manage excess debris on forested properties.

Vince Heslenfeld says he has been burning on his property on the bench for the past 38 years, once or twice a year, to help decrease the chances of a forest fire.

“Up until two months ago, the [Terrace Fire Department] never received a complaint,” Heslenfeld says, noting that his neighbour’s property recently had all their trees cleared, making it easier for fires on his property to be seen.

“All owners of forested property should be encouraged to keep them clear of combustible debris,” he adds. “Our residential property burning ban accomplishes the exact opposite.”

Currently, burning is allowed in agricultural, commercial, industrial or rural zones areas with a permit, but not in residential areas, according to the Terrace Fire Prevention Bylaw. A permit may also be removed if the smoke proves to be a nuisance to neighbours.

It was originally introduced after a resident voiced concerns regarding the air quality in their area caused by the fire smoke. Heslenfeld says while it would have been reasonable to impose some restrictions then, a total residential ban was a step too far.

READ MORE: B.C. communities call for wildfire prevention help

“Imposing a fire ban causes many other problems, the unwanted wood just not just go away and it can’t be ignored either,” he says. “Homeowners now have to come up with other ways of dealing with the material they previously burned.”

Terrace’s fire chief and bylaw officer have given Heslenfeld two options to get rid of the excess material — either through curbside collection or to take the trimmings to the transfer station in Thornhill, which costs $70 to drop off.

In order for the material to be approved for curbside, Henslenfeld says he spent almost two days cutting up branches from one fruit tree and stuffing them into large paper bags for collection.

“I sustained repetitive strain injury to my hand,” he says. “By the way, this was just for one fruit tree — I have six.”

Heslenfeld requested that two burn days be introduced per year, one in the spring and one in the fall, published well in advance so those troubled by smoke can prepare.

“Without that, I would likely do as my neighbour did and get rid of all of the trees on my property,” he says.

READ MORE: Smoke keeps air quality risks for some B.C. regions, rain moves through others

Coun. Lynne Christiansen says implementation of a residential fire ban was a bit of a stretch, and may not hurt to have a look at the existing bylaw to make it more workable for people who have larger properties or acreages.

“It’s a bit of a hardship to expect [residents] to clear, gather, take [wood] to the dump and pay the amount for it,” says Christiansen. “Perhaps, in the middle of January when it’s wet enough and there’s no danger, that there should be some provision so they can have some time to do that burning on their own property.”

She added that burning excess branches or dry wood can be fire-preventative, and recalled a time in the 1900s when a forest fire engulfed the Bench area.

“We sure don’t want that now with the houses up there,” Christiansen says, acknowledging that any changes to the bylaw would come with recommendations from the city’s fire department and bylaw officer.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Terrace Search and Rescue teaches water safety and wilderness skills at Furlong Bay

Partnering with Lakelse Watershed Stewards Society, public is encouraged to be cautious outdoors

Terrace’s Aquatic Centre hosts first Float and Show event

Approximately 100 attendees came out to watch Finding Nemo on their floaties

New fire response vehicle for New Hazelton

RDKS will pass the keys for the new water tender Aug. 23

Volunteer gathers supplies, donations for Terrace homeless

“We need to start doing something before it’s too late,” says Miriam McKay

As population ages, City of Terrace brings back healthy lifestyle program for seniors

The Choose to Move program will offer coaching and peer support

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Most Read