Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) will split almost $600,000 across 15 small communities throughout the region to help them better fight wildfires.
“By reducing the risk of wildfire, communities protect their well-being and become more climate resilient,” said Natasha Barisoff, Delivery of Benefits manager with CBT. “Wildfire is one of the greatest risks to Basin communities, especially with the changing climate, so every advancement in equipment, training or planning could help save properties and lives.”
Various projects involve purchasing equipment, offering training and funding planning work.
Locally, the Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ’it First Nation will receive just over $75,000 to purchase gear and equipment needed by its firefighters.
CBT officials said this will include jackets, helmets, hoses and a portable wildfire tank.
The equipment will be used to help out within Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ’it itself and nearby communities such as Grasmere.
“The potential risk for devastation is huge because of our location,” said Nasuʔkin Heidi Gravelle. “It usually is the case that something of devastation has to happen where people start saying, ‘Okay, this is a need.’ To have that comfort—knowing we have the updated, proper equipment to protect people—is huge.”
Elsewhere, the Town of Creston received $42,000 to upgrade equipment on its bush truck with a skid unit, pump, hand tools and personal protective equipment.
The Regional District of East Kootenay was approved for six separate grants for a combined total of $236,450.
That money will go to help out firefighters in the Elk Valley and South Country area, Elko, Fairmont Hot Springs, Hosmer and Panorama.
You can see the full list of grant recipients below.