Dan Houser (left) and John Salewski of B.C. Wildfire Service present FireSmart information during the City of Quesnel’s Forestry Innovation Centre open house Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. The City is applying for grant funding to do more FireSmart education and community outreach in 2021. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer File Photo)

Dan Houser (left) and John Salewski of B.C. Wildfire Service present FireSmart information during the City of Quesnel’s Forestry Innovation Centre open house Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. The City is applying for grant funding to do more FireSmart education and community outreach in 2021. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer File Photo)

City of Quesnel applying for UBCM grant to advance wildfire preparedness initiatives

The City hopes to be able to offer a $1,000 rebate for problem tree removal

An increased rebate for tree removal on private property and more FireSmart outreach are just a couple of the goals the City of Quesnel is hoping to achieve in 2021 if it is successful in receiving a provincial grant to support wildfire preparedness and mitigation.

Quesnel council approved applying for $48,000 in funding from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) to further advance wildfire preparedness on private property during its Oct. 6 meeting.

The City’s Forestry Initiatives Program is applying to the 2021 Community Resilience Investment (CRI) grant program and would use the funding for education, rebates for homeowners, Wildfire Preparedness Month in April and furthering behaviour changes initiatives by working with local plant nurseries, building supply stores, building contractors and realtors to increase FireSmart awareness, Erin Robinson, the City’s Forestry Initiatives manager, explained to council.

The Forestry Initiatives Program is also advocating to increase the rebate amount to assist with tree removal from $500 to $1,000, as tree removal has been identified as a need in Quesnel, Robinson told council.

“Over the past two years, the CRI fund has been used to carry out fuel management on Sugar Loaf and Gassoff’s Range (in South Hills), FireSmart education and community outreach, FireSmart property assessments and a rebate program to homeowners who increase their FireSmart score,” Robinson wrote in her report to council. “Based on what we have learned over the past two years, we are proposing to offer qualifying homeowners a $1,000 rebate to deal with problem trees (in a fuel management context only) within 10 metres of the home. To qualify, a homeowner will need to get a home assessment from the City’s Local FireSmart Representative, contact a tree service and have the recommended work done and submit the receipt to the City.”

The CRI program was announced by the provincial government in 2018 and is intended to reduce the risk of wildfires and mitigate their impacts on B.C. communities.

READ MORE: FireSmart Feature: Steve Dodge and composite decking


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