A photo of the Leach Creek fire, near Corbin Road, taken by Gareth Davis.

Kootenay communities receive funding for wildfire mitigation

Province doles out nearly $1 million to regional communities, First Nations, ahead of fire season

The provincial government is doling out just under $1 million in grant funding for wildfire mitigation across the Southeast Fire Centre.

The Regional District of East Kootenay is set to receive $100,000 that will be used for education, inter-agency co-operation, emergency planning, cross training and FireSmart activities on private land. Canal Flats is benefitting from a grant of $73,325 for the same purpose.

The Aq’am community is receiving $96,000, Akisqnuk First Nation is getting $100,000 and the District of Invermere is tabbed for $98,230, all of which is earmarked for fuel and vegetation management.

READ: Seven small wildfires burning in B.C. as warm weather brings dry conditions

All told, $907,000 is being distributed across the region as part of a community resiliency investment program which is administered by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM).

“Community resiliency investment funding will help Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities increase their resiliency to wildfire threats,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “The program is designed to support projects at the local level to help keep British Columbians safe.”

The resiliency program was established last September with $50 million designated for wildfire mitigation around rural and First Nation communities. An additional $10 million was added in the 2019 provincial budget.

Roughly $6 million was distributed to 85 communities, regional districts and First Nations across the province in the first intake of grant applications.

“As the 2019 wildfire season approaches, we must all do our part to keep our communities safe,” said Michelle Mungall, MLA for Nelson-Creston. “This funding will support local wildfire prevention efforts and help individuals become FireSmart.”

READ: Forestry warns of hot spots from last season’s fires

Through the program, a community could have up to 100 per cent of a wildfire risk reduction project covered by grant application. Communities facing a lower wildfire risk can apply for up to $25,000, while applicants with a larger risk are eligible for up to $100,000.

B.C. has experienced the worst wildfire seasons on record over the last two years.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

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