Fire Fighting in Canada

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Northwest B.C. communities get funding to support wildfire risk-mitigation

April 27, 2022
By Binny Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

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April 27, B.C.  – Communities in northwest B.C. will get nearly half a million dollars to support wildfire risk reduction activities this year.

Six projects that fall within the Northwest Fire Centre’s jurisdiction will share $495,811 through the Union of BC Municipalities FireSmart Community Funding and Supports program.

The FireSmart Community Funding and Supports category of the Community Resiliency Investment (CRI) program helps fund FireSmart-related initiatives, including priority fuel-management projects on provincial Crown land and private land.

First Nations and local governments can use the money to complete wildfire risk-reduction and prevention activities, including those on public, reserve and private land.

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The District of Kitimat will receive $71,890 and the Town of Smithers $70,872 also to assist with education, planning and FireSmart activities in residential areas.

Kitimat-Stikine Regional District will receive $92,060 and the North Coast Regional District $110,933.

Tahltan Nation will get $35,170 to assist with education, planning and interagency co-operation.

“Last year’s devastating fire season highlighted the importance of implementing FireSmart activities around B.C. communities and, as we saw in Logan Lake, it can make a big difference,” said Katrine Conroy, minister of forests.

“In Budget 2022, our government committed $90 million in community grants to complete FireSmart initiatives and fuel-management activities that will help safeguard homes and communities from wildfire threats.”

The City of Terrace will not be a beneficiary of the Community Resiliency Investment (CRI) grant for the FireSmart program, confirmed staff.

While the city did intend to apply for the 2022 grant, it had to withdraw the application after its contracted FireSmart program partner became unavailable.

Westland Resources had managed the FireSmart program for Terrace since 2019 but due to unforeseen circumstances they are unable to complete this work for 2022, said Kate Lautens, spokesperson for the City of Terrace.

“A qualified forest professional is needed to run the FireSmart program and without Westland, the City does not have the qualified personnel, either on staff or contracted, available to facilitate the program,” said Lautens.

“With this in mind, FireSmart rebates will not be available through the City of Terrace in 2022.