Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) and the Provincial Government will work together to fund projects aimed at reducing wildfire risks in the region.

The Province said it is investing $2.4-million to complete various wildfire mitigation projects throughout the Columbia Basin. B.C. also noted that the investment is part of its economic plan to create jobs and help communities recover from COVID-19 impacts.

“Our government’s support of this program will help mitigate wildfire threats and also provide training and employment opportunities,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Increasing wildfire resiliency in and around our communities is a key part of B.C.’s overall wildfire strategy.”

B.C. said CBT will administer the program and distribute grants to the successful applicants.

Provincial support for wildfire risk mitigation projects in the Columbia Basin comes from StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan, which aims to provide employment and economic opportunities in the province.

“StrongerBC programs are creating jobs and providing vital community support in all regions of the province, including the southeast,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “This funding will help people emerge from the pandemic on stronger footing by providing the training and work experience they need to return to the labour force.”

B.C. said the partnership between itself and CBT was developed with the BC Wildfire Service to support activities related to the seven FireSmart disciplines.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for basin residents to expand their wildfire resiliency efforts through training, capacity building and fuel management,” said Johnny Strilaeff, CBT President and CEO. “This collaborative effort with the Province of B.C. and the BC Wildfire Service to focus on our shared priorities means First Nations, municipal partners and rural communities and groups in the basin can identify wildfire interface risks and implement solutions that are community-led.”

For projects to qualify, they must meet the following criteria:

  • Focus on job creation, skills development and training.
  • Are community engagement, planning and innovation projects.
  • Address wildfire risk reduction.

More: Wildfire risk mitigation grant application (Columbia Basin Trust)