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Posted: May 4, 2019

Wildfire risk reduction grants benefit region

The B.C. government is providing more than $907,000 in community resiliency investment grants to support projects in the Southeast Fire Centre.

“Community resiliency investment funding will help Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities increase their resiliency to wildfire threats,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “The program is designed to support projects at the local level to help keep British Columbians safe.”

This funding is part of more than $6 million in community resiliency investment grants provided to 85 municipalities, regional districts and First Nations throughout the province, following the program’s first application intake.

The community resiliency investment program was established in September 2018 with $50 million to assist local governments and First Nations to lower wildfire risks around their communities. As part of Budget 2019, the B.C. government has provided an additional $10 million.

“One of the best ways for communities to deal with wildfire risks is to embrace the FireSmart program and take positive steps to reduce those threats,” said Katrine Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West.

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 takes a holistic approach to risk reduction and fuel management treatments by considering fire prevention activities on provincial Crown land, private land, local government land and reserve land, a Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development media release outlined.

“As the 2019 wildfire season approaches, we must all do our part to keep our communities safe,” said Michelle Mungall, MLA for Nelson-Creston. “This funding will support local wildfire prevention efforts and help individuals become FireSmart.”

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. 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 $100,000.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities administers the community resiliency investment program and processes grant applications.

Recipients of community resiliency investment grants in the Southeast Fire Centre include:

* Akisqnuk First Nation: $100,000 to assist with fuel and vegetation management;

* ?Aq’am First Nation: $96,000 to assist with planning and fuel and vegetation management;

* Village of Canal Flats: $73,325 to assist with education, planning, inter-agency co-operation, emergency planning, cross-training, fuel and vegetation management, and FireSmart activities on private land;

* Regional District of East Kootenay: $100,000 to assist with education, inter-agency co-operation, emergency planning, cross-training and FireSmart activities on private land;

* District of Invermere: $98,230 to assist with education and fuel and vegetation management.

Lead image: Last year was a record-setting one for wildfires across British Columbia. Pictured is a shot of the Whitetail Creek wildfire from last summer. BCWS image

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