The provincial government is committing $25 million over two years to further protect B.C. families and communities from the threat of wildfires, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson announced recently.
The new funding supports the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative, used by local governments and First Nations to reduce the risk of interface wildfires where forests and grasslands meet cities and towns. Since 2004, more than 230 community wildfire protection plans have either been initiated or completed by local governments and First Nations.
Community wildfire protection plans identify areas at risk and identify fuel management projects to address them. Fuel management activities, such as spacing live trees and removing dead ones, or cleaning up low branches, needles and woody debris that could potentially fuel a fire, are also funded under the initiative.
The new funding adds to $37 million provided by the government of British Columbia and the government of Canada since the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative was introduced. Funding for the program will continue to be administered by the Union of B.C. Municipalities on behalf of the province. Funding to local governments will be based on a cost-sharing formula.
Since 2004, 238 community wildfire protection plans have been initiated or completed by local governments and First Nations. These plans cover more than 43,000 hectares of land around communities that are most at risk for interface fires.
In addition to the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative, more than $14 million from the Job Opportunities Program has helped reduce the wildfire risk around 40 communities. B.C.’s Bioenergy Strategy also encourages the removal of dead trees and harvesting debris in and around communities for energy production.
– Submitted by
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations