The Regional District of North Okanagan was awarded $100,000 from the Province of British Columbia to fund multiple FireSmart community programs in the region’s Electoral Areas through the Union of BC Municipalities Community Resiliency Investment Program.
The funds will support three programs aimed at resident education and resident self-driven actions to help communities become more resilient to wildfire:
1. Three community hubs in rural North Okanagan will receive comprehensive fuel hazard assessments. Once the assessments are completed, local workshops will be held about risk-reduction methods specific to the three communities. Staff are working to determine the three most at-risk community hubs to complete these assessments.
2. A fuel hazard assessment and mitigation plan will be put together for the east end of the BX Dog Park, and for the Bluenose area of Electoral Area D. The Bluenose area will also receive treatment for the identified fuels.
3. Multiple community FireSmart workshops will be held around the North Okanagan.
Fires need three elements to ignite: oxygen, heat and fuel. Of these factors, fuel is the only one that can be managed in a preventative way, which is why the funding is focused on identifying areas with problematic fuels, creating mitigation plans, and teaching people how to spot and remove/reduce fuels on their own properties.
“By incorporating so much education into the ways we are using the grant money, we are investing in a FireSmart region. It’s kind of like the old saying, if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime,” said Alastair Crick, Manager of Emergency Services, RDNO. “We want people in our community to be FireSmart for life, and that can be achieved by teaching them how to identify risks and take small actions to make their house more resilient to wildfire.”
To get involved with FireSmart, residents can contact the RDNO at 250.550.3700.