The B.C. government has provided more than $3.5 million in grants to 26 local governments and First Nations in the Kamloops Fire Centre to support wildfire-risk-reduction initiatives and help keep communities safe.
These Community Resiliency Investment (CRI) grants are part of more than $13 million provided to 107 recipients throughout B.C. following the latest application intake in the program’s FireSmart Community Funding and Supports category.
Among the many recipients, Vernon is receiving $150,000 to assist with education, planning, interagency co-operation, emergency planning, FireSmart activities in residential areas. Spallumcheen is granted $35,000 to assist with education, planning.
“People across the Thompson Okanagan experienced a terrible fire season last year, and while some wildfires are natural, we all want to do our part to reduce the danger people face,” said Harwinder Sandhu, Vernon-Monashee MLA. “By providing these grants to communities, we’re working to keep people safe and protect the infrastructure we count on.”
Sandhu was in Vernon for the announcement Tuesday, April 19, at the Kalamalka Forestry Centre which came from Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Murray Rankin, pinch-hitting for forests minister Katrine Conroy.
The FireSmart Community Funding and Supports category of the CRI program helps fund FireSmart-related initiatives, including priority fuel-management projects on provincial Crown land and private land. First Nations and local governments can use the money to complete wildfire-risk-reduction and prevention activities, including those on public, reserve and private land.
“Vernon already has a dedicated FireSmart coordinator,” said Rankin. “There are five communities under the FireSmart Canada Recognized Neighbours program and the coordinator is actively loooking for more…The city has hosted active wildifre community preparedness days, active in that for more than five years. People here get it and will continue to maie progress over the years to come.”
The Union of BC Municipalities administers the FireSmart Community Funding and Supports program. It processes grant applications in partnership with the Ministry of Forests and the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of British Columbia. Eligible applicants facing lower wildfire risk can apply for as much as $50,000, while applicants facing demonstrated higher wildfire risk can apply for as much as $150,000. Communities can apply for funding to cover as much as 100 per cent of the cost of their wildfire-risk-reduction projects.