The B.C. government has provided $15 million in funding to 118 recipients across the province to help reduce wildfires.
Provincial officials said 15 local governments and First Nations in Southeast B.C. will be receiving $2.8 million of the funds.
“People want to be safe, and we’ve seen the reality of wildfire risk over the last few years, so reducing wildfire risk to B.C. communities is a top priority of our government,” said Roly Russell, Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development. “We are dedicated to working together with local governments and First Nations in rural B.C. to keep people out of harm’s way.”
Communities in the East Kootenay receiving funding include ʔAkisq̓nuk First Nation, ʔAq̓am, Cranbrook, Kimberley, Canal Flats, Elkford, Invermere and Radium.
“ʔAq̓am has been able to secure funding through the CRI program and then leverage it further to complete some larger-scale wildfire protection projects within our community,” said Julie Couse, ʔAq̓am director of lands and natural resources. “With this increased capacity, we are now able to look at a maintenance program for treatments that previously felt unobtainable.”
MORE: Funding breakdown for Southeast B.C. (B.C. government)
Provincial officials said the funds will help with vegetation management, the reducing of flammable materials on the landscape, community planning, training and emergency management planning.
B.C. officials said wildfire prevention starts with local communities, so the funding will help rural communities be better equipped.
“Local governments and First Nations play a vital role in reducing wildfire risks. Through this grant program, our government is helping make communities safer and better prepared to cope with future wildfires,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness.
Communities can now apply for the next wave of funding. Applicants with a lower wildfire risk can apply for up to $50,000 and those with a higher risk can apply for up to $150,000 through FireSmart Community Funding.