Northwest British Columbia communities get funding to support wildfire risk mitigation

Communities in northwestern British Columbia will receive nearly half a million dollars to support wildfire risk reduction activities this year.

Six projects under the jurisdiction of the Northwest Fire Center will share $495,811 through the Union of BC Municipalities’ FireSmart community support and funding program.

The FireSmart Community Funding and Supports category of the Community Resiliency Investment (CRI) program helps fund FireSmart-related initiatives, including priority fuel management projects on provincial public lands and private lands.

First Nations and local governments can use the money to carry out wildfire risk reduction and prevention activities, including those on public lands, reserves and private lands.

The District of Kitimat will also receive $71,890 and the Town of Smithers $70,872 to assist with education, planning and FireSmart activities in residential areas.

The Kitimat-Stikine Regional District will receive $92,060 and the North Shore Regional District $110,933.

The Tahltan Nation will receive $35,170 to help with education, planning and interagency cooperation.

“Last year’s devastating fire season underscored the importance of implementing FireSmart activities around BC communities and, as we saw in Logan Lake, it can make a big difference” , said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests.

“In Budget 2022, our government committed $90 million in community grants to deliver FireSmart initiatives and fuel management activities that will help protect homes and communities from wildfire threats.

The City of Terrace will not be a recipient of the Community Resilience Investment (CRI) grant for the FireSmart program, staff confirmed.

Although the city intended to apply for the 2022 grant, it had to withdraw its application after its contract partner in the FireSmart program became unavailable.

Westland Resources had operated the FireSmart program for Terrace since 2019, but due to unforeseen circumstances they are unable to complete this work for 2022, said Kate Lautens, spokeswoman for the City of Terrace.

“A qualified forestry professional is required to run the FireSmart program and without Westland, the City does not have qualified personnel, either on staff or under contract, available to facilitate the program,” Lautens said.

“With that in mind, FireSmart discounts will not be available through the City of Terrace in 2022.

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Martin E. Berry