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BC Government: Community Resiliency Investment grant criteria expanded

Press Release

July 17, 2020

KAMLOOPS – In response to feedback from Indigenous communities and local governments, the Province continues to improve the criteria for Community Resiliency Investment (CRI) program grants.

These grants fund eligible wildfire risk reduction projects in the FireSmart Community Funding and Supports category.

The primary goal of the CRI program is to reduce wildfire risks and wildfire impacts in B.C. communities. Indigenous communities and local governments can use CRI grants to undertake wildfire risk reduction and fire prevention activities, including those on public, reserve and private land.

“Reducing wildfire threats is a crucial part of the BC Wildfire Service’s mandate,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “The Community Resiliency Investment program is committed to continuous improvement and has made its funding criteria more flexible and more responsive to community needs.”

Changes to the program’s criteria and eligible activities for the FireSmart Community Funding and Supports category will be in effect for the 2021 application intake and include the following (see backgrounder for additional changes):

  • Regional districts may now submit a single application for eligible, collaborative FireSmart projects that include multiple electoral areas. The maximum base funding (i.e., $50,000 or $150,000, depending on the demonstrated wildfire risk) may be increased by up to $50,000 for each electoral area included in the application.
  • The grant amount for eligible applicants facing a lower wildfire risk has been increased from a maximum of $25,000 to a maximum of $50,000.
  • The new Community Wildfire Resiliency Plan supplemental instruction guide and template are now available to help communities assess wildfire risks and guide their risk reduction activities. The new template is a result of a comprehensive review of the government’s approach to community wildfire resiliency planning, conducted by the BC FireSmart Committee and the BC Wildfire Service.

The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) administers the $60-million Firesmart Community Funding and Supports category of the Community Resiliency Investment program. UBCM processes grant applications in partnership with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of B.C.

The application intake for the FireSmart Community Funding and Supports category is open and runs until Oct. 9, 2020. Program materials and information about how to apply are available on UBCM’s website: www.ubcm.ca/cri

Quotes:

Maja Tait, mayor, District of Sooke and president, Union of British Columbia Municipalities –

“This program is helping local governments manage the risk posed by wildfire to communities throughout the province. B.C.’s local governments welcome the sustained funding for this program and the continuing improvements to its design and criteria. Mitigating wildfire risk requires a long-term approach, and we appreciate the provincial commitment to making more communities safer.”

Chief Patrick Michell, Kanaka Bar Indian Band –

“The Kanaka Bar Indian Band has completed fire hazard reduction activities in many hectares of forest through the Community Resiliency Investment program, which supports pruning, thinning and burning. More importantly, Kanaka has developed overall community fire safety awareness and resident capacity through information sharing, mentoring and successive years of field work. Our community is now the safest place to be in the event of a wildfire.”

Art Kaehn, chair, Regional District of Fraser-Fort George –

“When it comes to being FireSmart, education is everything. The support we are receiving from the Community Resiliency Investment program helps us share information and tips about simple, easy things everyone can do on their property to reduce the risk of damage or loss from wildfire.”

Quick Facts:

  • The B.C. government works closely with communities, First Nations, industry and stakeholders to reduce wildfire risks and keep people and communities safe.
  • The Province has committed $60 million to the Firesmart Community Funding and Supports category of the CRI program to help local governments and First Nations mitigate wildfire threats around their communities. The program, launched in September 2018, replaced the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative.
  • The Firesmart Community Funding and Supports category allows local governments and First Nations to apply for funding to cover up to 100% of their wildfire risk reduction projects. In 2019, grants worth $9.9 million were approved for 120 projects. In 2020, grants worth $12.1 million were approved for 123 projects.

Learn More:

Community Resiliency Investment program: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/prevention/funding-for-wildfire-prevention/crip

Read more about the FireSmart program and the seven FireSmart disciplines online: https://firesmartbc.ca/

A backgrounder follows.

Contact:

Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Media Relations
250 213-8172


BACKGROUNDER

Wildfire risk reduction program criteria more flexible

Key changes to the criteria for the FireSmart Community Funding and Supports category will be in effect for the next application intake and include the following:

  • Regional districts may now submit a single application for eligible, collaborative FireSmart projects that include multiple electoral areas. The maximum base funding (i.e., $50,000 or $150,000, depending on the demonstrated wildfire risk) may be increased by up to $50,000 for each electoral area included in the application.
  • The grant amount for eligible applicants facing a lower wildfire risk has been increased from a maximum of $25,000 to a maximum of $50,000.
  • Applicants can now do FireSmart assessments and complete FireSmart activities related to infrastructure (owned by First Nations or publicly owned) that has been designated as critical for supporting an effective response to a wildfire (e.g., emergency operations centres, water pump stations, communications towers).
  • The new Community Wildfire Resiliency Plan supplemental instruction guide and template are now available to help communities assess wildfire risks and guide their risk reduction activities. The new template is a result of a comprehensive review of the government’s approach to community wildfire resiliency planning, conducted by the BC FireSmart Committee and the BC Wildfire Service.
  • Funding is now available to support Indigenous cultural safety and humility training for emergency management personnel, so they can more effectively partner with Indigenous communities and provide assistance related to wildfire prevention and fire suppression activities.
  • Funding is now available to help organize public meetings, community site visits and community education initiatives, and to implement or update signs, social media accounts, websites or newsletters related to a proposed activity that is eligible for Community Resiliency Investment (CRI) funding.
  • All applications for grants in the FireSmart Community Funding and Supports category are now required to include an educational component. This may include general FireSmart educational activities or be related to a proposed activity that would be eligible for funding under the program.
  • Applicants can now order FireSmart educational materials (free of charge) as part of their application, to help streamline the distribution of those materials.
  • Funding is available to applicants so they can attend the 2021 FireSmart Conference.
  • The program provides guidance for the development of Community FireSmart Resiliency Committees (previously known as FireSmart Committees) to help co-ordinate projects within Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, and those projects on provincial Crown land around communities.
  • The updated CRI program and application guide clarifies the links between the FireSmart Community Funding and Supports category and the program’s Crown land Wildfire Risk Reduction category, which focuses on wildfire risk mitigation projects on Crown land.

Contact:

Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Media Relations
250 213-8172

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect

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