With the cold air starting to make its way into the homes of British Columbians and winter weather soon following it, the government would like to remind people of several important seasonal regulations.

First, as the evenings get cooler and more British Columbians begin using their fireplaces and woodstoves as a source of heat in their homes, theyre reminded that people who cut, collect or use firewood must ensure that it is harvested legally.

Before any members of the public collect any firewood, they must first obtain a Free Use Permit for Firewood, to verify that gathering firewood is allowed in that area and to ensure that they follow local regulations.

Cutting down trees on Crown land without an appropriate permit (or selling of said firewood) is an ongoing concern in British Columbia, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources said in a press release. This is considered an illegal activity and could result in a violation ticket or fine.

According to the release, natural resource officers from the ministry have issued $14,878 worth of violation tickets related to unauthorized wood harvesting during the past 18 months. The government also collected $156,179 in administrative penalties from unauthorized commercial ventures during that time.

The firewood permit is available at www.gov.bc.ca/firewoodpermits for free and allows an individual to collect and transport firewood from eligible Crown land for personal use. The government encourages those purchasing firewood to ask where it was harvested with a record of purchase to assist in the reduction of illegal harvesting of firewood.

In addition to firewood, B.C. motorists are being reminded to make the change to winter tires this week. As of October 1st, B.C. law requires that all vehicles traveling on highways have winter tires through winter to March 31st.

British Columbia accepts tires displaying the three-peaked mountain or snowflake symbol on the tire, or the M+S (mud and snow) symbol, with at least 3.5 mm tread as winter tires. Some tire manufacturers choose to mark their tires with both designations.

According to the government of B.C.s website, the use of winter tires is only mandatory on provincial highways. Within the Columbia Valley, these highways include Highway 93, Highway 95 and, once the two join, Highway 93/95. The fine for being caught without proper winter tires on your vehicle along one of these highways is $109 from the RCMP. Those looking for more information are invited to go to the governments website at www.gov.bc.ca.