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Posted: October 30, 2019

Council approves 2020 FireSmart grant application

By Erin Knutson

Wildfire prevention, education, public awareness and proactive measures are high on the list of priorities for the City of Fernie as council unanimously motioned to endorse FireSmart Program initiatives at Monday’s regular council meeting.

Fire and Emergency Services Director Ted Ruiter touted the benefits and successes of the program to mayor and council on behalf of the FireSmart activities for 2019 and proposed that council support a grant application to the 2020 Community Resiliency Investment Program.

“We took advantage of this program last year with our Firesmart Initiative and Fuel Management Program and were able to support residences, local government land, and provincial crown land to reduce the risk of wildfire,” said Ruiter.

Funding for the previous year provided training for six fire and emergency staff members, who underwent and completed a comprehensive FireSmart training program in Cranbrook.

Additional funding provided by Columbia Basin Trust, allowed for the hiring of a FireSmart manager and a communications department to promote wildfire awareness through tools like their new FireSmart Facebook page that has gained traction in the community, according to Ruiter.

The program has been a benefit to the city by campaigning to target wildfires in the area while supporting an initiative to reduce wildfires across communities in B.C. Monetary supports have been made available to deserving applicants to enhance public awareness of risks and responsibilities to residents in fire dependent ecosystems.

Funding is based on a scale for areas presenting a high risk of wildfire that are able to apply for grant funding up to $150,000 annually. See Grant Application

“Organizing and budgeting were important elements to this initiative and making sure that we don’t miss any steps along the way—it’s going well,” said Ruiter of new strategies for managing the program and promoting wildfire safety strategies for Fernie.

For more information on this topic visit: FireSmart


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