Cariboo Regional District receives $100K grant for community wildfire planning

Funds will support a Community Wildfire Protection Plan for 100 Mile House fringe areas

The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) is among the list of recipients in the latest round of provincial grant funding to support wildfire risk reduction projects.

The B.C. government has allocated another $342,378 in Community Resiliency Investment (CRI) program grants to five local governments and First Nations communities in the Cariboo Fire Centre.

These grants, announced July 11, are part of a second round of 44 grants distributed province-wide from the program’s first application intake. They are in addition to the more than $6 million in funding provided to 85 municipalities, regional districts and First Nations throughout British Columbia in May.

The total number of CRI program grants allocated province-wide to date is now 129, amounting to more than $9.8 million.

The CRD is receiving $100,000 to assist with a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) for the CRD fringe areas around 100 Mile House, including 108 Mile Ranch and Lac La Hache.

Stephanie Masun, the CRD’s manager of protective services, says this CRI grant gives the CRD an opportunity to produce a Community Wildfire Protection Plan, which helps the CRD co-ordinate and map out wildfire risks and gives risk reduction recommendations.

“It also captures and builds on wildfire protection works and plans already underway or proposed,” she said in an email.

“The CWPP provides a needed co-ordination perspective and opens the opportunity to apply for funding from future CRI intakes for community-level FireSmart work and resources.”

Masun says the CRD currently has an open Request for Proposals to hire a contractor to develop the CWPP, and the proposals are under initial review. The CRD hopes to have the contract confirmed and work started by early September at the latest, and the plan will need to be completed and submitted to the CRD in the late springtime of 2020.

Masun says a CWPP is important because it supplements an overarching regional emergency plan.

“It identifies community fire risks, opportunities to reduce those hazards and provides a place to start in wildland interface areas by beginning in areas of the highest population density,” she said. “The plan helps to guide activities and works to minimize risks, opens community discussion and provides a basis for additional funding applications. This plan will create a big picture of community hazards, risks and vulnerabilities, while offering concrete solutions and guidance for next steps for protecting populated areas from wildfires.”

The Esk’etemc is receiving $25,978 to assist with education, development, inter-agency co-operation, cross-training and FireSmart activities for private land.

The Xeni Gwet’in First Nation received a $100,000 grant to assist with education, planning, cross-training and fuel and vegetation management.

The Yunesit’in is receiving $24,000 to assist with planning.

The Ulkatcho First Nation received a $92,400 grant to assist with education, inter-agency co-operation, cross-training, FireSmart demonstration projects, fuel and vegetation management, and FireSmart activities for private land.

READ MORE: CRD makes plan to ask Premier for more funding

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