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Pallet fires a point of concern for Cranbrook area conservation officers

After an increasing number of pallet fires on Crown land, the BC Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) is looking to ramp up enforcement and curb the activity.

Jeff Scott, a conservation officer with the BCCOS in Cranbrook, told MyEastKootenayNow.com that the fires are cause for concern due to the environmental impacts on the landscape.

“It’s becoming an increasing event and happening more so in the spring that individuals are gathering pallets from local businesses and unfortunately they’re taking them out to Crown land to have large parties and campfires,” said Scott.

A pallet fire location near Hidden Valley Road outside Cranbrook. (Supplied by Jeff Scott, BC Conservation Officer Service)

“Burning of pallets on Crown land is prohibited in large part because of the staples and the nails that are left behind, it leaves a complete mess, and its also a future hazard to wildlife, and of course tires and people walking through the area.”

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Scott said their main concern is the litter and waste that is being left behind by the pallet fires, noting that they can break provisions in the Wildfire Act.

“The CO service in the region is going to be looking out for people using these fires and folks that are involved or sitting in front of are likely to be charged and having to deal with the repercussions and cleaning up the waste and the mess that’s left behind.”

Scott said fines and charges can vary depending on location and area, and that they are going to be adding patrols, specifically looking out for pallet fires.

“We’re going to be looking to charge any individuals that are responsible for this and making a mess of our Crown land and backroads area. Even this winter, there’s been a couple of pallet fires that have been happening on lakes and so that’s very detrimental to the fisheries values with all of the ashes and the staples that end up in the lake once the ice on the surface melts.”

While local businesses usually offer free pallets for use or disposal, Scott says businesses should be aware of where their pallets are going and if they are being burned on Crown land.

Scott said if the public witnesses a pallet fire on Crown land, they can contact the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.

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