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The B.C. government is investing $2.4 million to complete wildfire risk reduction projects in the Columbia Basin as part of its economic recovery plan to create jobs and help communities recover from COVID-19 impacts.

“Our governments support of this program will help mitigate wildfire threats and also provide training and employment opportunities,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Increasing wildfire resiliency in and around our communities is a key part of B.C.s overall wildfire strategy.”

The funding will be allocated in partnership with Columbia Basin Trust, which will administer the program and distribute grants to the successful applicants.

StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan provides employment and economic opportunities to support a wide range of projects throughout the province. The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development is responsible for economic recovery programs worth more than $100 million. Its support of wildfire risk reduction projects in the Columbia Basin is one component of that overall recovery strategy.

“StrongerBC programs are creating jobs and providing vital community support in all regions of the province, including the southeast,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “This funding will help people emerge from the pandemic on stronger footing by providing the training and work experience they need to return to the labour force.”

The partnership between the Province and Columbia Basin Trust was developed with the BC Wildfire Service to support activities related to the seven FireSmart disciplines.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for basin residents to expand their wildfire resiliency efforts through training, capacity building and fuel management,” said Johnny Strilaeff, president and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust. “This collaborative effort with the Province of B.C. and the BC Wildfire Service to focus on our shared priorities means First Nations, municipal partners and rural communities and groups in the basin can identify wildfire interface risks and implement solutions that are community led.”

How it works:

– The program’s eligibility requirements support projects in the Columbia Basin that:
a. focus on job creation, skills development and training;
b. are community engagement, planning and innovation projects; and
c. address wildfire risk reduction.

– Grant application forms and a program guide are available on Columbia Basin Trust’s website

– Applicants can request funding to cover up to 100% of total project costs for eligible activities, up to a maximum of $150,000 per application.

– Applicants can email wildfire@ourtrust.org to connect with a wildfire advisor, who can provide guidance on eligibility requirements and help guide the development of their project applications

– Applications for funding may be submitted by:
a. local governments (municipalities or regional districts);
b. First Nations communities;
c. registered non-profits, including community associations, with an identified wildfire risk reduction need;
d.legally incorporated, society-run fire departments in good standing;
e. post-secondary educational institutions; and
f. improvement districts that operate fire protection services.

– Funded projects must be completed within one year of the date the grant is approved.

The deadline to submit applications is 2 p.m. (Pacific time)/3 p.m. (Mountain time) on April 19,
2021.

Quick Facts:
– The Columbia Basin is located in southeastern B.C. and consists of all watersheds that flow into the Columbia River
– It encompasses numerous communities in the east and west Kootenays, including Nelson, Castlegar, Cranbrook, Creston and Fernie, and stretches north to Golden, Revelstoke and Valemount.
– The Columbia Basin Trust operates in the traditional territories of the Ktunaxa, Lheidli Tenneh, Secwepemc, Sinixt and Syilx Nations.

Learn More:
Stronger BC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan
Columbia Basin Trust wildfire program
FireSmart program
Community Resiliency Investment Program

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