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Columbia Basin Trust funds wildfire projects

The Columbia Basin Trust and provincial government are providing funding to provide employment while reducing the risk of wildfires.

A dozen projects in 10 rural communities are receiving a combined $1.2 million to create 93 jobs.

The funding comes from the Columbia Basin Economic Recovery Initiative, which is part of the Province of B.C.’s Crown Land Wildfire Risk Reduction program.

The initiative is a partnership between the Ministry of Forests, through the BC Wildfire Service, and Columbia Basin Trust, which is administering the funding.

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“During last year’s devastating wildfire season I was able to see firsthand the impacts FireSmart practices had holding back the flames from the community of Logan Lake,” said Kootenay West MLA  and Forests Minister Katrine Conroy in a news release.

“In the face of climate change, year-round efforts like this partnership with Columbia Basin Trust are needed to reduce wildfire risk so communities here in the Columbia Basin can remain vibrant and resilient.”

Projects supported through this program will create jobs to help rural communities become more resilient to wildfire threats.

“Communities of the Basin have experienced extremely challenging wildfire seasons, and this program will help reduce future risks while at the same time creating employment opportunities for residents” said Columbia Basin Trust CEO Johnny Strilaeff.

“By making rural communities more resilient to wildfire we improve public safety and protect homes and critical infrastructure.  These actions will also help the region become more resilient to climate change, which residents have told us is a priority and which we incorporate into our work in the Basin.”

This program had its first intake in 2021, supporting 17 projects that created over 200 jobs in 14 communities with $1.9 million in funding. Many of those projects will help reduce wildfire risks in the 2022 wildfire season.

Nakusp and Ymir are among the communities involved.

Wildfire came close to Nakusp in summer 2021, so the community knows all too well the need to plan ahead and focus on fire prevention. The village is hiring a dedicated FireSmart coordinator who will promote FireSmart principles and activities and provide wildfire-related information to the village so it can make informed decisions.

“Wildfire presents the single greatest threat to Nakusp. Although the Village of Nakusp has been participating in FireSmart programs since 2017, the events of 2021 reinforced the need for greater municipal involvement in these activities,” said Mark Tennant, director of finance.

“The new position will increase the village’s capacity to provide public education about wildfire resiliency and to liaise effectively with stakeholders to coordinate the local response in case of wildfire.”

Meanwhile the Ymir Community Association is hiring a registered professional forester, archeologist and work crews to develop fuel reduction plans for two areas totalling 12.5 hectares, remove fuels like underbrush and shrubs, and create signs that will make people more aware of wildfire risks and encourage them to take care of their surroundings.

“Recently, more than ever, we have all been discussing what the next steps should be in protecting Ymir’s residents and businesses from the obvious danger of wildfires,” said president Janice Perello,

“This project will not only serve as an important fuel reduction and management necessity, but will also give the people a feeling of protection and security in areas that are enjoyed by many residents during outdoor activities.”

The full list of funding recipients is as follows.






East Kootenay

Regional District of East Kootenay

Interface Fire Prevention Officers

Extend two Interface Fire Prevention Officer positions in the East Kootenay to conduct education, do outreach and deliver the FireSmart Canada Neighbourhood Recognition Program.


Cranbrook, South Country and area

Kootenay Livestock Association

Farm and Ranch Wildfire Resiliency

Reduce community wildfire risk by hiring two wildfire specialists to educate and support agriculture producers with wildfire planning, prevention and training.



Golden District Rod and Gun Club

Post-harvest Wildfire Risk Reduction

Develop a fuel management prescription and implement the treatment on 6.7 hectares (ha) of Crown land woodlot that is close to homes and assessed and rated as a fuel treatment priority.



Wildsight Regional

Golden Wildfire Resilience Demonstration

Implement a demonstration fuel treatment on ha of municipal land including training youth crew members, monitoring fuel data and conducting public education activities.



District of Invermere

Invermere Wildfire Resiliency Program

Extend the employment of a FireSmart Coordinator to educate citizens about FireSmart principles and improve community wildfire resiliency, and hire a contractor to complete a fuel management prescription for 9.13 ha.



City of Kimberley

Kimberley Hazardous Fuels Treatments

Implement the treatment of hazardous fuels on a 15 ha parcel of municipal land and provide public education throughout the project stages, including a field tour upon completion.



Wildsight Kimberley-Cranbrook

Kimberley Wildfire Resilience Demonstration Project

Implement a demonstration fuel treatment on up to 5 ha of crown land, including training youth crew members, monitoring fuel data and conducting public education activities.



Village of Nakusp

Nakusp FireSmart Capacity Building 2022-23

Create a FireSmart Coordinator position to provide FireSmart training and capacitybuilding activities.



Corporation of the City of Nelson: Nelson Fire and Rescue Services

Nelson FireSmart 2022

Create a FireSmart Coordinator position to manage the FireSmart Program and contract a building materials professional to assess and recommend building products that are suitable for building in the wildlandurban interface development zone.



Wasa District Lions Club

Wasa Lake FireSmart Demonstration

Create a FireSmart demonstration site on a 0.35ha forested Crown lot to educate residents about reducing wildfire risk on their properties.


Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi’it

Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi’it

Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡiit Wildfire Resiliency

Extend two part-time Wildfire Response Coordinator positions to conduct FireSmart education and hold community events, coordinate wildfire prevention training, and oversee the Community Wildfire Resiliency Committee.



Ymir Community Association

Ymir Wildfire Fuel Management

Implement a fuel treatment and conduct public education activities on two parcels of Crown land encompassing up to 11 and 1.4 ha respectively in a high wildfirerisk area with community infrastructure and recreational value.




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