A number of people have contacted me with concerns about fire hazard on Gospel Rock due to dry conditions and piles of clearing slash. Here is a response from Town of Gibsons Director of Infrastructure Services Dave Newman.
“We do share your concerns about the generally dry conditions and with the recent fires on the coast, including the house fire on Rosemund earlier this week I think a lot of coast residents have a heightened awareness of the danger of fire right now.
The Town has no authority to require the property owner to do anything on the property regarding the downed trees. However I can provide you with the following information:
- The Fire Department is aware of the conditions on the property and are not any more concerned about this site than any other site with dry vegetation. The main issue in dry conditions (of which there are many right now) is sources of ignition. I understand a representative from the fire department has or will be responding to you as well with more information.
- The reason the trees are still down and were not removed is that the developer is following Federal requirements regarding birds and nesting. A biologist has been on site several times both before and after the tree cutting to monitor for nesting birds. The last recent assessment by the biologist showed that there are still birds nesting in the area so the developer cannot continue with clearing at this time, even if he wanted to.
- Ironically, if the developer was to come on site and remove the trees and brush, there would be a higher likelihood of fire as there would be machinery working on site which could provide a source of ignition.
- When the clearing continues, the contractor will have a water truck on site as a precautionary measure.
- The developer has been very proactive and is communicating often with Town staff. The intent when I spoke with his representative earlier this week was to post signs at various trail locations on his site warning of the dry conditions and stating that there are to be no fires or smoking on site.
I hope the above helps to some degree.”