Local communities get grants to reduce wildfire risks
The provincial government is providing almost $9 million to help 89 local governments and First Nations throughout British Columbia prepare so their homes, businesses and communities are better protected against the threat of wildfires.
Five local (Southeast Fire Centre) communities have qualified for funds.
- ʔaq’am (Ktunaxa Nation): $150,000 to assist with education, planning, fuel management;
- Regional District of East Kootenay: $150,000 to assist with education, inter-agency cooperation, cross-training, FireSmart activities for private land;
- City of Fernie: $87,000 to assist with education, cross-training, FireSmart demonstration projects, FireSmart activities for private land;
- District of Invermere: $150,000 to assist with education, planning, cross-training, FireSmart activities for private land;
- Shuswap Indian Band: $150,000 to assist with fuel management.
“Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities are on the front lines of wildfire prevention, and we removed barriers so our Community Resiliency Investment program met their needs,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “We fund up to 100% of local projects and projects that include Crown land because we know wildfires don’t distinguish between municipal, on-reserve and provincial Crown land.”
Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, announced the third round of 89 Community Resiliency Investment grants during a visit to recipients in the Interior.
“The people who call these communities home know all too well the dangers from wildfires,” said Kahlon. “Our government is committed to supporting local governments and First Nations because it’s their on-the-ground efforts and local knowledge that are crucial to protecting the economic, recreational and environmental lifeblood of their communities.”
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.
The number of Community Resiliency Investment program grants allocated province-wide to date is now 209, amounting to more than $18.6 million.
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 British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) administers the Community Resiliency Investment program’s FireSmart Community Funding and Supports category and processes grant applications in partnership with the ministry and the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of B.C. Eligible applicants facing a lower wildfire risk can apply for up to $25,000, while applicants facing a demonstrated higher wildfire risk can apply for up to $150,000.