The Columbia Basin Trust and B.C. government is providing $1.7 million for 16 wildfire risk reduction projects in 14 communities.

CBT officials said the projects will create over 200 jobs in the region.

According to CBT officials, the projects would focus on teaching people how to prevent wildfires, managing vegetation/fuel load in fire-prone areas and create jobs and provide training and skills development related to wildfire risk reduction.

“Our government’s financial support for wildfire risk reduction projects in the Columbia Basin will help mitigate future wildfire threats,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “We appreciate Columbia Basin Trust’s assistance in distributing these grants and helping communities protect themselves against wildfires.”

The Regional District of East Kootenay will be receiving $150,000 to add two new Interface Fire Prevention Officer positions.

CBT officials said $150,000 will go to Wildsight Kimberley-Cranbrook to gather data and employ local youth as crew members in the Youth Climate Corps Program.

The City of Fernie will get $127,000 to create “shaded fuel breaks” in two areas near the community. The fuel breaks will be on 4.2 hectares near St. Margaret’s Cemetery and 1.6 hectares near Mount Fernie Provincial Park.

“These treatments will certainly go a long way in mitigating the threat of wildfire and providing our residents with significant protection,” said Ted Ruiter, Director of Fire and Emergency Services with the City of Fernie. “Also, we will be contracting out the necessary work, thus creating jobs in these uncertain times.”

The District of Invermere will get $125,000 in funds to help offer wildfire-based training to Invermere Fire Rescue personnel and perform fuel management demonstrations.

MORE: Complete list of wildfire prevention projects (Columbia Basin Trust)