North Cowichan has closed the forestry gates at a number of locations due to the high fire hazard rating. The gates now restrict vehicle access to Mount Prevost, Mount Sicker and the Grace Road areas.
The municipality said it’s “a proactive approach to reduce the risk of wildfires. There are no restrictions on members of the public wanting to hike/bike within the Municipal Forest Reserve. The gates will reopen in the fall after the fire hazard has decreased.”
The forestry gates in those areas are typically locked in the summer to prevent fires. The gates on Maple Mountain, Mount Tzouhalem, and Mount Richards are closed year-round.
The mountains themselves remain open for recreation.
“The Municipal Forest Reserve remains open for non-motorized recreational use, such as hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. We encourage the public to continue visiting the MFR as recreational users are extra eyes and ears in the forest and are often the first to detect a wildfire which can provide quicker reporting for our emergency service crews to be able to respond to a wildfire,” said a municipal notice.
To report a wildfire, call 1-800-663-5555 (*5555 from a cell phone) or 911.