Historic Investments Help British Columbia Prepare for Wildfire Season

British Columbians can expect cooler, wetter conditions in June, which means fire danger is expected to remain low through early summer, the latest seasonal outlook from the BC Wildfire shows. Service.

Despite this, several key areas are showing drier than normal regimes, including the Southern Cariboo, Thompson-Okanagan and Rocky Mountain Trench. These areas will be closely monitored. The longer-term forecast points to a shift to above-season temperatures for late July and August, which could lead to an increased risk of wildfires.

To support wildfire prevention, preparedness and community resilience, Budget 2022 provided $359 million in new funding to protect British Columbians from wildfires.

This is the largest investment in the history of the Forest Fire Department and is helping to transform the organization into a year-round service and move from its current reactive model to a more proactive approach. This includes $145 million to strengthen the BC Wildfire Service and Emergency Management BC. This will allow the BC Wildfire Service to focus on the four pillars of wildfire management: prevention and mitigation; preparation; answer; and recovery.

“Last year’s devastating fire season highlighted the importance of wildfire prevention to communities across British Columbia and, as we saw firsthand in Logan Lake, how it can make a real difference in people’s lives,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests. “That’s why our government is more than doubling the funding available for wildfire prevention activities like FireSmart and making historic investments to transform BC Wildfire Service into a more proactive, year-round service.

Up to $90 million in new Community Resilience Investment Program funding will also be provided to local governments and First Nations to increase wildfire protection by undertaking community FireSmart activities over the next three years. . Since the inception of the Community Resilience Investment Program in 2018, 488 grants to local governments and First Nations have been approved totaling more than $50 million.

“The First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of BC looks forward to the opportunity to continue to serve First Nations communities in British Columbia, working with our program partners to provide FireSmart community funding and supports,” said Quentin Nelson, Mitigation Manager, First Nations Emergency Services. Company. “These programs increase community resilience, reduce wildfire risk and build capacity to support these initiatives.”

The Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) 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 BC. Eligible applicants facing a lower wildfire risk can request up to $50,000, while applicants facing a higher wildfire risk can request up to $150,000. . Communities can apply for funding to cover up to 100% of the cost of their wildfire risk reduction projects.

“UBCM members have been asking the provincial government for many years to support wildfire risk reduction activities in and around their communities,” said Laurey-Anne Roodenburg, President of UBCM. “The additional $90 million will allow communities to continue their efforts to reduce wildfire risk and increase local resilience, and we are very pleased to see the province continue its commitment to support local and Indigenous governments.

Funding of $98 million over three years is also provided to fund forest fire prevention works and projects and maintain forest service roads, and more than $26 million in capital funding has been provided to increase capacity, meet maintenance needs and equip homes for future wildfire seasons.

The province provided ongoing funding to the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of BC to support the inclusion of traditional knowledge, which led directly to the launch of a cultural and prescribed burning initiative. Working in partnership with First Nations to expand the use of cultural and prescribed burning is key to mitigating the risk of wildfires. Integrating traditional practices and cultural uses of fire into wildfire prevention and supporting the reintroduction of strategic burning is also a commitment of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Action Plan.

Learn more:

Learn more about the seasonal outlook for the June wildfires: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/wildfire-situation/fire-weather

BC Wildfire Service Mobile App:

Apple (IOS): Download directly from the App Store (IOS): https://apps.apple.com/us/app/bc-wildfire-service/id1477675008?ls=1

Android: Download directly from the Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ca.bc.gov.WildfireInformation&hl=en

Learn more about the FireSmart program and the seven FireSmart disciplines here: https://firesmartbc.ca/

Community Resilience Investment Program: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/prevention/funding-for-wildfire-prevention/crip

Information on Community Resilience Investment Grants can be found on the Union of BC Municipalities website:

A backgrounder follows.

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