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$1.1 million grant gains Shuswap FireSmart 2 more years

Provincial funding provides financial security to plan, complete projects
A $1.1 million grant from the provincial government will keep the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s FireSmart program active for the next two years, and help prevent the loss of homes and property as Kúkpi7 James Tomma experienced in the 2023 Bush Creek East wildfire. (Heather Black-Salmon Arm Observer)

Government funding of $1.1 million will spark another two years of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s (CSRD) FireSmart program.

The district announced the continuation of the program, which is recognized as one of the top in B.C., in a March 26 media release, thanks to a grant from the Community Resiliency Investment program, administered through the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM). The release adds that this two-year grant provides more financial certainty, giving the FireSmart program a better time frame to plan and implement projects.

“This grant really recognizes the importance of FireSmart, especially in areas like ours where the risk of wildfire to homes is great. Certainly, we saw examples during the Bush Creek East Wildfire where FireSmarted properties survived the blaze when others didn’t,” CSRD general manager of community and protective services Derek Sutherland said in the release. “This grant will help us continue to reduce the risks of wildfire to properties across the region.”

The CSRD’s program focuses on preventative measures and education for residents, including the ability to receive a free, customized wildfire property assessment from a local FireSmart representative. This enables owners to learn about their risks, and take action to reduce them, while the program also offers up to a $500 rebate for pre-approved mitigation work.

In the release, interim FireSmart coordinator Sophie Randell said there are numerous ways in which homeowners can reduce risk.

“Our approach is to look carefully at your home to identify the gaps where embers can take hold, then we focus outward to the rest of the landscape,” she explained. “Our goal is to show you what is imminently hazardous in the event of a wildfire, and it is not all about cutting down trees.”

The CSRD program also supports whole neighbourhoods taking steps to protect their collective properties through the FireSmart Neighbourhood Recognition Program, with eight neighbourhoods having already achieved this designation.

Further information can be found at

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About the Author: Heather Black

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