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Columbia Basin Trust funds wildfire projects

The Columbia Basin Trust and provincial government are providing funding to provide employment while reducing the risk of wildfires.

A dozen projects in 10 rural communities are receiving a combined $1.2 million to create 93 jobs.

The funding comes from the Columbia Basin Economic Recovery Initiative, which is part of the Province of B.C.’s Crown Land Wildfire Risk Reduction program.

The initiative is a partnership between the Ministry of Forests, through the BC Wildfire Service, and Columbia Basin Trust, which is administering the funding.

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“During last year’s devastating wildfire season I was able to see firsthand the impacts FireSmart practices had holding back the flames from the community of Logan Lake,” said Kootenay West MLA  and Forests Minister Katrine Conroy in a news release.

“In the face of climate change, year-round efforts like this partnership with Columbia Basin Trust are needed to reduce wildfire risk so communities here in the Columbia Basin can remain vibrant and resilient.”

Projects supported through this program will create jobs to help rural communities become more resilient to wildfire threats.

“Communities of the Basin have experienced extremely challenging wildfire seasons, and this program will help reduce future risks while at the same time creating employment opportunities for residents” said Columbia Basin Trust CEO Johnny Strilaeff.

“By making rural communities more resilient to wildfire we improve public safety and protect homes and critical infrastructure.  These actions will also help the region become more resilient to climate change, which residents have told us is a priority and which we incorporate into our work in the Basin.”

This program had its first intake in 2021, supporting 17 projects that created over 200 jobs in 14 communities with $1.9 million in funding. Many of those projects will help reduce wildfire risks in the 2022 wildfire season.

Golden and Cranbrook are among the communities that will benefit.

Blown-down trees and a bark beetle outbreak have created a lot of wildfire fuel in a rural area near Golden. The Golden District Rod and Gun Club is hiring for seven positions to develop a prescription plan and treat the area to reduce wildfire risk, protecting people, nature and properties.

“This project is aimed at proactively managing the interface zone of the club woodlot in a way that will reduce wildfire intensity and will enhance winter range habitats for local wildlife,” said executive director Brian Gustafson.

“We have the long-term vision to expand the management of our woodlot in a manner that makes these ecosystems more resilient to wildfire and a changing climate.”

The Kootenay Livestock Association will increase knowledge amongst agriculture producers with support from the partnership. (Photo: Bonnie Hutchison/Columbia Basin Trust)

Meanwhile, farmers and ranchers are often some of the first people on site during a wildfire. The Kootenay Livestock Association is making them even more prepared for this situation — and helping decrease the likelihood of it in the first place — by hiring wildfire mitigation specialists to teach agriculture producers how to reduce the risk of wildfires and develop individual wildfire plans.

“Wildfire risk mitigation has been an ongoing priority for agriculture producers in the region, and this project targets key steps towards building wildfire resiliency capacity in rural areas,” said office administrator Tanya Molle.

“Resiliency is about bouncing back, and initiating and managing wildfire mitigation work on a farm or ranch means a potential ‘bounce back’ from a wildfire incident is significantly reduced.”






East Kootenay

Regional District of East Kootenay

Interface Fire Prevention Officers

Extend two Interface Fire Prevention Officer positions in the East Kootenay to conduct education, do outreach and deliver the FireSmart Canada Neighbourhood Recognition Program.


Cranbrook, South Country and area

Kootenay Livestock Association

Farm and Ranch Wildfire Resiliency

Reduce community wildfire risk by hiring two wildfire specialists to educate and support agriculture producers with wildfire planning, prevention and training.



Golden District Rod and Gun Club

Post-harvest Wildfire Risk Reduction

Develop a fuel management prescription and implement the treatment on 6.7 hectares (ha) of Crown land woodlot that is close to homes and assessed and rated as a fuel treatment priority.



Wildsight Regional

Golden Wildfire Resilience Demonstration

Implement a demonstration fuel treatment on ha of municipal land including training youth crew members, monitoring fuel data and conducting public education activities.



District of Invermere

Invermere Wildfire Resiliency Program

Extend the employment of a FireSmart Coordinator to educate citizens about FireSmart principles and improve community wildfire resiliency, and hire a contractor to complete a fuel management prescription for 9.13 ha.



City of Kimberley

Kimberley Hazardous Fuels Treatments

Implement the treatment of hazardous fuels on a 15 ha parcel of municipal land and provide public education throughout the project stages, including a field tour upon completion.



Wildsight Kimberley-Cranbrook

Kimberley Wildfire Resilience Demonstration Project

Implement a demonstration fuel treatment on up to 5 ha of crown land, including training youth crew members, monitoring fuel data and conducting public education activities.



Village of Nakusp

Nakusp FireSmart Capacity Building 2022-23

Create a FireSmart Coordinator position to provide FireSmart training and capacitybuilding activities.



Corporation of the City of Nelson: Nelson Fire and Rescue Services

Nelson FireSmart 2022

Create a FireSmart Coordinator position to manage the FireSmart Program and contract a building materials professional to assess and recommend building products that are suitable for building in the wildlandurban interface development zone.



Wasa District Lions Club

Wasa Lake FireSmart Demonstration

Create a FireSmart demonstration site on a 0.35ha forested Crown lot to educate residents about reducing wildfire risk on their properties.


Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi’it

Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi’it

Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡiit Wildfire Resiliency

Extend two part-time Wildfire Response Coordinator positions to conduct FireSmart education and hold community events, coordinate wildfire prevention training, and oversee the Community Wildfire Resiliency Committee.



Ymir Community Association

Ymir Wildfire Fuel Management

Implement a fuel treatment and conduct public education activities on two parcels of Crown land encompassing up to 11 and 1.4 ha respectively in a high wildfirerisk area with community infrastructure and recreational value.




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