|It’s Time to Scrap Pallet Fires||June 23, 2020|
Chilliwack, BC: Summer is here, but pallet fires belong in the past. Free pallets left out by businesses are commonly burned in environmentally sensitive areas, such as on gravel bars in the Fraser and Vedder River or in the forested areas surrounding Chilliwack. Pallets are often treated with chemicals or painted. When burned, they create pollution that negatively affects respiratory health, increases risk of wildfires, and leaves behind nails and chemicals that are harmful to fish, wildlife and people.
The City’s Open Air Burning Regulation Bylaw, the provincial Environmental Management Act, and the Wildfire Act ban burning pallets in the City of Chilliwack. While the Chilliwack Fire Department responds to reports of pallet fires, many go unreported. In order to address this, the City also supports cleanup efforts.
Volunteers are a key part of the City’s efforts to clean up after illegal dumpers and irresponsible outdoor recreational users. In 2019, the City paid for the responsible disposal of 17.5 tonnes of garbage collected by volunteers, in addition to funding the Adopt a Road, River and Park/Trail programs which oversee 137 volunteer groups who perform hundreds of cleanups a year.
“There is a small group of hardworking volunteers who spend countless hours every year cleaning our recreational areas in the wake of pallet fires,” said Mayor Popove. “In addition to other litter and illegally dumped items, they have kept fish, wildlife, and us safe from thousands of pounds of nails. This is a heavy burden and we all need to help make it a little lighter.”
Local businesses can help these volunteers by ensuring pallets are managed responsibly so they don’t end up polluting our natural areas. Residents can assist by avoiding campfires altogether or choosing untreated, local firewood and reporting pallet fires if they see them.
Find out more about how to report pallet fires or other instances of illegal dumping at chilliwack.com/stopdumping.
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