The City of Terrace and the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine are among 89 recipients to share $9 million in provincial funding to help local governments and first nations mitigate the threat of wildfires.
This is the third round of funding through the Community Resiliency Investment program targeting wildfire prevention, from which Terrace received $136,704, and a further $114,080 for RDKS.
The District of Kitimat also received $24,739 to assist with education.
“Any funding for the prevention of massive wildfires is an advantage,” said RDKS emergency program coordinator and Thornhill Fire Chief Rick Boehm.”We’ve already identified high-risk areas where we want to do clearing and thinning. We’ve already cleared out three lots in the Dease Lake area and this year we’re going to broaden that.”
Up to 100 per cent of funding was made available to selected projects across government jurisdictions, whether municipal lands, federal lands or B.C. Crown lands. Doug Donaldson, minister of forests, lands, natural resources operations and rural development noted wildfires don’t distinguish between these boundaries.
This year the Tahltan Nation also received $61,000 to assist with education, cross-training and FireSmart activities for private land. In 2018 the 121,000-hectare Alkali Lake wildfire destroyed 21 homes in Telegraph Creek. More than $12 million was spent making the community livable again, and 57 kilometres of fireguard needed to be rebuilt. In total roughly 50 structures were lost on both reserve and regional district lands.
“The people who call these communities home know all too well the dangers from wildfires,” FLNRORD Parliamentary Secretary Ravi Kahlon said. “Our government is committed to supporting local governments and First Nations because it’s their on-the-ground efforts and local knowledge that are crucial to protecting the economic, recreational and environmental lifeblood of their communities.”
The B.C. government committed $60 million to the Community Resiliency Investment program in 2018, replacing the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative. Program grants allocated provincewide to date is now 209, amounting to more than $18.6 million.
In 2018 the RDKS received $197,108 in the program’s first round of intakes. Last year both the district and the City of Terrace received funding for a regional application totaling $99,980 for activities associated with education, planning, inter-agency cooperation, emergency planning and FireSmart activities on private lands. The Tahltan Nation did not apply to the program until this year’s intake.