Columbia Basin Trust is partnering with the B.C. government to distribute almost $1.8 million between 11 local FireSmart projects.
“FireSmart activities are a key component to improving the resiliency of communities across BC,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “As we navigate the challenges posed by increasing wildfire risks, supporting funding for communities to engage in FireSmart activities is not just an investment; it’s a commitment to our collective safety and resilience.”
CBT officials said projects can include wildfire education programs, fuel mitigation work, and other wildfire risk reduction work.
“Communities dedicated to reducing the threat of wildfire are accessing this program to receive the support and project development advice they need to undertake this critically important work,” said Johnny Strilaeff, President and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust. “Their efforts attest to what can be done when we work together, and we thank the Province of BC for its ongoing collaboration with us when it comes to mitigating the risk of wildfire in the Basin.”
Some examples of the projects set to receive funding can be found below.
Elkford – $180,000
CBT officials said the District of Elkford will use its grant to hire a FireSmart Coordinator who will help educate residents and contractors.
“The new FireSmart Coordinator will educate the residents of Elkford on how to incorporate FireSmart principles into their properties,” said Enzo Calla, Director of Fire & Emergency Services. “They will also work with the District’s Planning and Development Services department on how to incorporate FireSmart principles into new developments.”
Lardeau Valley – $188,000
Officials with the Trust said the Lardeau Valley Opportunity LINKS Society will take several actions to minimize wildfire risks in the region.
This will include hiring a part-time FireSmart Coordinator, fuel mitigation work on 10 hectares of forest around Jewett Elementary School in Meadow Creek.
“Through a multifaceted approach, our project aims to address the valley’s priorities and plans for wildfire resiliency,” said Chelsey Jones, Executive Director. “While ensuring the safety and well‐being of the surrounding neighborhoods, the fuel management location also offers an invaluable opportunity to educate the public on FireSmart practices and promote the importance of proactive wildfire prevention within the broader community.”
Rosebery – $200,000
According to CBT officials, the grant will be used to pay for fuel-reduction practices on 10 hectares of crown land on Slocan Lake.
The Rosebery Community Association is leading the project and work will include removing secondary growth, brush and downfall.
“Building upon successful community FireSmart activities over the past several years, this prescription will reduce fuel sources for natural‐ and human‐caused fires and limit the spread of fires that do occur,” said Kay Schweitzer, Chair. “This will immediately reduce wildfire risk for some of the community’s most heavily used recreational and residential areas and create a defendable and accessible fire break through the middle of the community.”
Shuswap Band – $176,000
The Trust said the Shuswap Band will use its grant to reduce the risk of wildfires caused by Douglas fir ingrowth and the encroachment of common juniper.
The work will target a 31-hectare area of crown land near the Shuswap reserve and the surrounding community.
“The Shuswap Band, historically stewards of the land, has a significant recent history of land management in the local area with respect to forest fuel management and ecosystem restoration. This project follows several years of successful activities,” said Sierra Stump, Lands Manager. “With this treatment, forest fuel loading will be significantly decreased, reducing the intensity and rate of spread of wildfire and decreasing the threat to the adjacent surrounding community infrastructure.”
You can see every project set to receive funding below.
More: Columbia Basin Wildfire Resilience Fund (Columbia Basin Trust)