The B.C. government has provided more than $490,000 in grants to six local governments and First Nations in the Cariboo 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, 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.”
Don Dixon, natural resources manager, Canim Lake Band –
“The CRI program is an important part of our ongoing community wildfire protection efforts. CRI funds are used for manual forest fuel treatments on our main reserve, adjacent to buildings and homes. The work reduces wildfire risk and includes spacing, pruning and lowering the tonnes per hectare of fuel loading through manual piling and burning. The result is best described as a shaded fuel break. In addition, the work is undertaken by contractors based out of this community and is an important source of employment.”
Erin Robinson, manager, City of Quesnel’s Forestry Initiatives Program –
“The Community Resilience Investment Program plays a big part in the success of our program. To date, CRI has allowed us to prescribe and carry out 25 hectares of fuel abatement in our city, assess 70 homes and buildings for fire hazard, and distribute 26 rebates to homeowners who rolled up their sleeves and used FireSmart on their private property. It’s through important collaborations like these that local and provincial governments can share the workload on community protection of public lands while assisting private landowners through education and incentives.”
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.