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Funding partnership provides $2.5M in wildfire mitigation for Kootenay communities

Communities in the Kootenay region are collectively receiving $2.5 million for wildfire mitigation projects through a funding partnership between the Columbia Basin Trust and the Province.
The Kragmont Community Society is reducing the risk of wildfire near Kragmont and Baynes Lake with support from the Trust. Photo courtesy Columbia Basin Trust.

Communities in the Kootenay region are collectively receiving $2.5 million for wildfire mitigation projects through a funding partnership between the Columbia Basin Trust and the Province.

“Wildfire-resilient communities are built through partnerships and people working together to protect our forests and surrounding communities,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “These wildfire risk reduction projects are a valuable part of healthy, sustainable forest management in BC. Thank you to Columbia Basin Trust and the 20 communities and organizations around the Basin that are doing this important work.”

The Columbia Basin Trust is administering the funding to 20 different communities in the Columbia Basin, as the funding partners also include the Ministry of Forests and the BC Wildfire Service, through the province’s Community Resiliency Investment Program.

“The best way to fight wildfire is to do the necessary work well in advance, and we thank the Province of BC for continuing to collaborate with us to help projects like these take place,” said Johnny Strilaeff, President and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust. “We also thank the people and groups that are undertaking such vital activities to protect Basin communities as we face the impacts of climate change.”

In the East Kootenay, funding has been allocated to initiatives in under a dozen communities for various fuel reduction initiatives.

• Cranbrook is receiving a combined $361,000 for two projects; $162,000 will go towards a wildfire fuel reduction demonstration site on 25 hectares at the Canadian Rockies International Airport, along with $199,000 for the same initiative on 29 hectares in the Gold/Joseph Creek areas.

• Golden is receiving $110,000 for a fuel management treatment on 10 hectares of land. A further $200,000 is being dedicated for promoting FireSmart principles in the Golden and Revelstoke communities.

• Invermere is receiving $135,000 for wildfire fuel management treatment on 4.94 hectares of land, along with providing inter-agency cross training that includes a prescribed burn on 20 hectares of land.

• Kimberley is receiving $131,000 for a wildfire fuel treatment on two hectares of land in the Morrison subdivision, while also providing for inter-agency training through a prescribed burn on 9.6 hectares of land on the highway corridor between the city and Marysville.

• Kimberley is also receiving $153,000 for a six-hectare wildfire fuel management treatment in the Kimberley Nature Park.

• Kragmont is receiving $88,000 for a 6.5 hectare wildfire fuel management treatment on Crown land.

• Wasa is receiving $67,000 for a wildfire fuel management demonstration site for a 5.4 hectare site on local government and crown land by the Wasa Recreation Hall.

• Wycliffe/Tie Lake/Wilmer are receiving $200,000 to implement wildfire fuel management treatment at Wycliffe and Tie Lake regional parks, as well as Wilmer Community Park.

Numerous West Kootenay communities also received funding for similar initiatives, such as wildfire fuel management treatment on 2.9 hectares surrounding the Appledale Hall south of Slocan.

“The Community Resiliency Program and the Province of BC have partnered with Columbia Basin Trust to invest $2.5 million to help communities and organizations across the Basin prepare for and reduce the chance of wildfire,” said Minister Katrine Conroy, Minister Responsible for Columbia Basin Trust. “Appledale Hall is a great example of this partnership in action. The hall is being renovated into a resiliency centre and will also be used to provide demonstrations of FireSmart principles, so homeowners can see how to make their own homes more resilient to wildfire. Our work together will help Basin residents protect themselves and their communities.”

Trevor Crawley

About the Author: Trevor Crawley

Trevor Crawley has been a reporter with the Cranbrook Townsman and Black Press in various roles since 2011.
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