The B.C. government has provided more than $4.5 million in grants to 31 local governments and First Nations in the Kamloops Fire Centre to support wildfire risk reduction initiatives and help keep communities safe.
These Community Resiliency Investment (CRI) grants are part of a total of more than $15 million provided to 118 recipients throughout B.C., following the latest application intake in the program’s FireSmart Community Funding and Supports category.
“Mitigating wildfire threats is crucial to help safeguard people, homes and businesses throughout the province,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Since the Community Resiliency Investment program was established in 2018, our government has approved 366 grants to local governments and First Nations totalling over $37 million.”
Funding provided through CRI’s FireSmart Community Funding and Supports category helps Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments reduce wildfire risks around their communities. Recipients can use the money for wildfire risk reduction and fire prevention activities related to the FireSmart program’s nine eligible funding areas:
- vegetation management (reducing accumulations of flammable materials on the landscape)
- community planning
- development considerations (looking at ways that local governments could regulate development to incorporate FireSmart principles)
- inter-agency co-operation
- FireSmart training and cross-training
- emergency management planning
- FireSmart projects for critical infrastructure
- FireSmart activities for residential areas
Eligible applicants facing a lower wildfire risk can apply for up to $50,000 through the FireSmart Community Funding and Supports category, while applicants facing a demonstrated higher wildfire risk can apply for up to $150,000. They can apply for funding to cover up to 100% of the cost of their wildfire risk reduction projects.
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 helps increase community resiliency by funding activities that promote FireSmart education, planning and opportunities for partnerships through regional FireSmart committees.
The Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) administers the $60-million FireSmart Community Funding and Supports grant program and it processes grant applications in partnership with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of B.C. The next application intake opens on June 30, 2021. More information about the application process will be available on the UBCM website.
Roly Russell, Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development –
“People want to be safe, and we've seen the reality of wildfire risk over the last few years, so reducing wildfire risk to B.C. communities is a top priority of our government. We are dedicated to working together with local governments and First Nations in rural B.C. to keep people out of harm’s way.”
Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness –
“Local governments and First Nations play a vital role in reducing wildfire risks. Through this grant program, our government is helping make communities safer and better prepared to cope with future wildfires.”
Brian Frenkel, president of the Union of B.C. Municipalities –
“As the fire season heats up, B.C. residents are reminded of the hazards posed by wildfire. The funding provided through this program will increase FireSmart activity around the province and will reduce the risk of wildfire to the health and safety of our communities. I appreciate the Province’s ongoing support for these activities.”
Dave Nordquist, acting director of natural resources, Adams Lake Indian Band –
“The Adams Lake Indian Band is no stranger to wildfires, as we have either been evacuated or have been put on evacuation notice due to out-of-control wildfires. We understand that this could occur again, so the Adams Lake Indian Band is glad that the Community Resiliency Investment program has given us this grant to do the necessary planning and work to mitigate potentially damaging wildfire threats in future.”
Larry Watkinson, fire chief, City of Penticton –
“Now that the city has secured provincial funding to hire a full-time FireSmart co-ordinator, we will be able to bring Penticton’s FireSmart program to the next level. We will not only conduct FireSmart programs and education, but also launch the new FireSmart Home Partners Program here. With this initiative, we’ll advise homeowners how their homes can be become certified FireSmart homes for insurance and wildfire resiliency purposes.”
Community Resiliency Investment program:
Information about Community Resiliency Investment grants on the UBCM website: www.ubcm.ca/cri
FireSmart program: https://firesmartbc.ca/
A backgrounder follows.