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CBT and B.C. government funding local wildfire management projects

$2.5-million from the provincial government and Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) will go to 20 communities and organizations to prepare for and reduce the risk of wildfires.

CBT officials said the funding comes from the B.C. Government’s Community Resiliency Investment Program.

“Wildfire-resilient communities are built through partnerships and people working together to protect our forests and surrounding communities,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “These wildfire risk reduction projects are a valuable part of healthy, sustainable forest management in BC. Thank you to Columbia Basin Trust and the 20 communities and organizations around the Basin that are doing this important work.”

The funding will cover a range of projects, including hiring a FireSmart coordinator, developing plans to do prescribed burns, carrying out innovative fuel management activities or providing FireSmart assessment training.

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“The best way to fight wildfire is to do the necessary work well in advance, and we thank the Province of BC for continuing to collaborate with us to help projects like these take place,” said Johnny Strilaeff, President and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust. “We also thank the people and groups that are undertaking such vital activities to protect Basin communities as we face the impacts of climate change.”

You can learn about the projects set to receive funding below.

Slocan Integral Forestry Cooperative – $28,270

CBT officials said the grant will be used to renovate Appledale Hall into a resiliency centre, where people can find refuge.

The Slocan Integral Forestry Cooperative will also use the money to provide a FireSmart demonstration, where homeowners can see how to make their homes safer against wildfire.

“One of the aims of the resiliency centre is to create a safe location during emergencies that the local population can access, but also a place where FireSmart education will take place,” said Stephan Martineau, SIFCo Manager. “It will become an educational location for all things resiliency-related, and the land around the building itself will be treated to be an example of resiliency in action.”

Columbia Shuswap Regional District – $200,000

Grant funding will go towards hiring new staff to help prepare the region and educate the public.

“The Columbia Shuswap Regional District has already done impressive work when it comes to reducing the risk of wildfire, including performing hundreds of FireSmart Home Assessments,” said the Trust. “Now it is bumping up its efforts even more in and around Golden and Revelstoke by hiring a Wildfire Mitigation Specialist and local FireSmart Representatives.”

Officials said this should help reach the region’s spread-out population.

“The communities within these areas are more remote, which makes it challenging to reach all residents with FireSmart and wildfire risk reduction messages,” said Darcy Mooney, Manager, Operations Management. “Having dedicated, local staff completing a wide range of tasks will help develop more community FireSmart champions in these locations and will grow wildfire risk reduction activities over time.”

You can find out more details about all of the projects set to receive funding through the link below.

More: Community Resiliency Investment Program – Wildfire Resiliency (Columbia Basin Trust)

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