The Snowy Mountain fire threatened Similkmeen communities for many weeks in 2018 before wildfire crews and weather brought it under control. (BC Wildfire photo)

Grants help communities prepare for wildfire

Wildfire risk reduction grants in Kamloops Fire Centre

  • May. 6, 2019 12:30 p.m.

The province is putting up $2.2 million to help communities in the Kamloops Fire Centre manage wildfire risks.

That includes $100,000 for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen to assist with planning, inter-agency co-operation and FireSmart activities on private land and the Lower Nicola Indian Band is receiving $76,400 to assist with fuel and vegetation management.

Another $50,000 is going to the Village of Keremeos to assist with education, emergency planning and FireSmart demonstration projects.

READ ALSO: Snowy Mountain wildfire holding size in southern B.C.

Elsewhere in the South Okanagan, Penticton and Summerland are each receiving $100,000 to assist with education, fuel and vegetation management and planning.

In the Central and North Okanagan, the Okanagan Indian Band is receiving $98,000; Lake Country, $35,000; Kelowna, $100,000; Westbank First Nation, $30,000 and Peachland, $100,000.

The money is coming through the province’s community resiliency program, administered by the Union of B.C. Municipalities. In this case, the funds are specifically to help communities increase their resiliency to wildfire threats. More than $6 million is being distributed to 85 municipalities, regional districts and First Nations.

READ ALSO: weather helping wildfire crews gain upper hand

Mitigating wildfire threats is a shared responsibility of the provincial government, local governments, First Nations, industry, stakeholders and individual British Columbians. The community resiliency investment program takes a wider approach to risk reduction and fuel management treatments by considering fire prevention activities on provincial Crown land, private land, local government land and reserve land.

A key component of the program is that it lets communities apply for funding to cover up to 100 per cent of a wildfire risk reduction project. Eligible applicants facing a lower wildfire risk can apply for up to $25,000, while applicants facing a demonstrated higher wildfire risk can apply for up to $100,000.

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Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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