Nature of the Complaint
Timber sale licence A48267 is located immediately adjacent to a
rural-residential area, and forest practices there have met with
opposition from local residents.
In August 1998, the complainant discovered two fallers cutting a
road right-of-way within the licence area. The complainant believed
that operations were not permitted in the cutblock at that time, and
that the fallers did not have the required fire fighting equipment
with them on site and close at hand. The fire danger class was rated
as "high" for that day.
The complaint was filed with the Board the next day. The
complaint stated that:
- two fallers had contravened the Forest Fire Prevention and
Suppression Regulation because they were working without the
required fire fighting equipment on site,
- signs warning the public of falling activity were not present
at all access points around the block,
- government enforcement was inappropriate because the Ministry
of Forests had failed to ensure that the fallers had the necessary
fire fighting equipment on site, and
- operations were taking place despite the fact that the
complainant had been assured that operations would not be allowed
until a possible trespass had been investigated.
Scope of the Investigation
The investigation addressed two main questions:
- Did the licensee comply with the requirements of the Forest
Practices Code of British Columbia Act and its related regulations
- Was government enforcement of the requirements of the Code
The Board investigation focused on the specific issues of fire
tools and government enforcement of fire tool requirements, signs,
and whether operations took place within the timber sale licence
area when not allowed by the Ministry of Forests.
The investigation did not examine the alleged unauthorized
harvesting because the issue was already under investigation by the
Ministry of Forests. The Board considered the ministry investigation
to be an existing administrative procedure that was appropriate to
deal with the issue in the circumstances.
The Board reached the following conclusions regarding the issues
investigated in this complaint:
The required fire fighting tools were available at the worksite
when fallers were working within the timber sale area. The licensee
complied with the requirements of the Forest Fire Prevention and
The Code does not require that warning signs be placed at entry
points to cutblocks, thus there was no contravention of the Code.
Signage is regulated by the Occupational Health and Safety
Regulation under the Workers' Compensation Act.
The Ministry of Forests conducted two fire tool inspections on
two days of operations and found that operations were in compliance
with the requirements of the Forest Fire Prevention and Suppression
Regulation. Government enforcement of fire tool requirements was
extremely prompt and appropriate.
The Ministry of Forests did not have the authority to issue a
stop work order for all operations within the licence area, and as a
result operations were not prohibited.