The provincial government has provided over $2.1 million in Community Resiliency Investment grants to 13 local governments in the Southeast Fire Centre in order to support initiatives that strive to reduce wildfire risk and keep communities safe.
These CRI grants are part of the $13 million received by 107 B.C. communities after the most recent application intake for the program’s FireSmart Community Funding and Supports category.
“Last year’s devastating fire season highlighted the importance of implementing FireSmart activities around B.C. communities and, as we saw in Logan Lake, it can make a big difference,” said forests minister Katrine Conroy.
“In Budget 2022, our government committed $90 million in community grants to complete FireSmart initiatives and fuel-management activities that will help safeguard homes and communities from wildfire threats.”
The grant funding will predominantly go towards education, fuel management, cross-training, FireSmart activities in residential areas and interagency cooperation.
The Central Kootenay Regional District received a total of $603,225 and $277,725 went to the Kootenay-Boundary Regional District, while Cranbrook, Kimberley, Nelson and Rossland each received around $150,000.
Fernie received $102,525, Invermere $123,600 and Kaslo $139,100, with the villages of Midway, Nakusp, Radium Hot Springs and Silverton getting the rest.
First Nations and local governments are able to use these funds to complete wildfire-risk-reduction and prevention activities on public, reserve and private land.
“For people across the southern Interior, wildfires are something we live with regularly, and with that lived experience, we know they’re worsening with climate change,” said Roly Russell, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen.
“We all need to be better prepared to protect ourselves, our communities and the vital services we rely on, and we know that FireSmart projects do exactly that. I’m happy our government is supporting this work happening across our region.”
The FireSmart Community Funding and Supports program is administered by the Union of BC Municipalities, which governs grant applications in partnership with the Ministry of Forest and the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of British Columbia.
Communities that face higher wildfire risk can apply for up to $150,000, while eligible communities with a lower wildfire risk are able to apply for up to $50,000. Communities are also able to apply for funding to cover as much as 100 per cent of the cost of their wildfire-risk-reduction projects.