Governments get funds for wildfire risk reduction projects
The B.C. government has allocated another $1,413,349 in Community Resiliency Investment program grants to eight local governments and First Nations communities in the Southeast Fire Centre to help support wildfire risk reduction projects.
Five of those local governments are in the East Kootenay: District of Elkford – $160,123 to assist with fuel and vegetation management; City of Kimberley – $681,226.45 to assist with fuel and vegetation management; City of Fernie – $97,000 to assist with education, cross-training and fuel and vegetation management; City of Cranbrook – $100,000 to assist with fuel and vegetation management; and Shuswap Band – $100,000 to assist with education, planning, fuel and vegetation management, and FireSmart activities for private land.
These grants are part of a second round of 44 grants distributed province-wide from the program’s first application intake. They are in addition to the more than $6 million in funding provided to 85 municipalities, regional districts and First Nations throughout British Columbia in May 2019, a Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development media release noted.
The total number of Community Resiliency Investment program grants allocated province-wide to date is 129, amounting to more than $9.8 million.
“The last two summers have shown the need for better preparation in advance of wildfire seasons,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “To help keep people and communities as safe as possible, it’s more important than ever that we invest in programs that reduce the risk.”
The B.C. government has committed $60 million to the Community Resiliency Investment program to help local governments and First Nations reduce the risk of wildfire through the promotion and use of FireSmart principles. The program, launched in September 2018, replaces the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative.
Mitigating wildfire threats is a shared responsibility of the provincial government, local governments, First Nations, industry, stakeholders and individual British Columbians. The Community Resiliency Investment program helps increase community resiliency by funding activities that promote FireSmart education, planning and opportunities for partnerships through regional FireSmart committees. A key component of the program is that it lets communities apply for funding to cover up to 100% of a wildfire risk reduction project.
The Union of B.C. Municipalities administers this program and processes grant applications. Eligible applicants facing a lower wildfire risk can apply for up to $25,000, while applicants facing a demonstrated higher wildfire risk can now apply for up to $150,000.
The application deadline for the next intake is Oct. 18. Program materials and more information about how to apply for one of these grants is available on the Union of B.C. Municipalities website.
Other recipients of Community Resiliency Investment grants in the Southeast Fire Centre include:
* Regional District of Kootenay Boundary: $86,000 to assist with education.
* Village of Silverton: $82,500 to assist with education, development, inter-agency co-operation, emergency planning, cross-training and FireSmart activities for private land.
* City of Nelson: $106,500 to assist with education, planning, development, inter-agency co-operation, emergency planning, cross-training, fuel and vegetation management and FireSmart activities for private land.
Lead image: The City of Cranbrook last year undertook an extensive wildfire risk reduction project along Gold Creek and South Star south of the city. e-KNOW file photo