The B.C. government has provided more than $1.5 million in grants to 11 local governments and First Nations in the Northwest 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.”
Megan Rogers, reserve lands officer with the Kitselas Lands and Resources Department –
“We are thrilled to be a successful recipient of a Community Resiliency Investment program grant. It will be used to update our current Community Wildfire Protection Plan to a Community Wildfire Resiliency Plan for Kitselas reserve lands. The reserves require assessments to identify existing forest fuels and other associated wildfire threats to protect Kitselas people, infrastructure, sensitive ecosystems, and culturally, spiritually and historically significant areas. A new Community Wildfire Resiliency Plan, in alignment with current FireSmart standards, will guide the Kitselas community and staff towards becoming a wildfire-resilient community.”
Lindsay King, FireSmart educator with the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako –
“The entire Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako FireSmart program is funded by CRI. Our FireSmart program includes extensive community outreach, free home assessments, $500 home rebates, critical infrastructure assessments, and the development of a Community Wildfire Resiliency Plan. Emergency preparedness encourages Canadians to take action to protect themselves and their families during emergencies. Together with community leaders, first responders, all levels of government and non-government organizations, we can build a more resilient and safer Canada.”
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.