As the days warm up and the wildfire season approaches, communities and groups in the Columbia Basin can access new supports for their efforts to protect people and the places they love. To help them prepare for and reduce the threat of wildfire, Columbia Basin Trust and the Province of British Columbia are partnering to support projects that build community wildfire resiliency, especially in rural areas that face high risk.
“Last year’s devastating fire season demonstrated the importance of implementing FireSmart activities around B.C. 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 has committed $90 million in community grants to complete FireSmart initiatives and fuel management activities that will help safeguard homes and communities from wildfire threats. Thank you to Columbia Basin Trust for their continued support of Basin communities.”
The Province of BC is investing $2.5 million in the Community Resiliency Investment Program – Columbia Basin Wildfire Resiliency Initiative, a partnership between the Province and the Trust and developed with BC Wildfire Service to support activities related to the seven FireSmart disciplines. The Trust will administer the program and distribute grants to the successful applicants.
“Safeguarding communities requires advance planning and concrete actions to reduce wildfire risks and impacts,” said Johnny Strilaeff, President and Chief Executive Officer, Columbia Basin Trust. “In partnership with the Province of BC, we are continuing to help communities across the Basin prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change.”
The program will support communities as they: build community awareness and implementation of FireSmart principles; conduct fuel management demonstration projects on provincial Crown land, First Nations land or land owned by local governments; plan for the application of cultural and prescribed fire on local government owned and/or First Nations land; and increase their abilities to identify wildfire risks and implement solutions.
Groups may also be able to connect with a wildfire advisor to access support while developing their priorities, project ideas and applications. Projects may be led by local governments, First Nations, legally incorporated society-run fire departments, post-secondary institutions and select non-profits.
The program is funded through the Province of BC’s Community Resiliency Investment Program, Crown Land Wildfire Risk Reduction stream, which has a mandate to reduce wildfire risk and increase community resiliency to wildfire across BC. It builds upon a previous Trust/Province partnership, which aided 29 projects that reduced wildfire risks in communities throughout the Basin.
To learn more about the current program, visit ourtrust.org/wildfire.