maple mountain
A Natural Resource Officer works alongside the local fire department to investigate the cause of the Maple Mountain fire. (BC Wildfire Service/Facebook)

The Government of British Columbia is rolling out a new Community Resilience Investment Program (CRI) to offer $50 million over the next three years to local governments and First Nations communities, which will go directly towards helping reduce wildfire risks.

“Wildfires don’t recognize the difference between municipal, on-reserve, or provincial Crown land, and neither should the programs designed to address those fires,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, in a press release.

The CRI will offer $10 million in the upcoming 2018-2019 year, and $20 million in each of the next two subsequent years.

A promising new aspect of the CRI is that communities may now apply for 100% funding of wildfire risk reduction projects. This 100% funding is in contrast with the previous cost-sharing system that was in place before. The CRI now also allows for more FireSmart activities to be eligible for funding.

A deeper look at the new program

The Community Resilience Investment Program will replace the previous Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative. Its new approach will have a two-pronged focus:

  1. Local governments and First Nations can apply for up to $100,000 in funding for activities that prevent wildfires.
  2. The CRI will identify important provincially owned pieces of infrastructure, (like power lines and highways), and direct efforts to these locations under the High Value Assets and Critical Infrastructure Protection program.

Applications for CRI funding opens today, Monday, September 10, and will close on December 7, 2018.

Local communities and First Nations can apply for up to $100,000 from the $10 million total of the 2018-2019 year here.

The B.C. FireSmart Committee will evaluate all applications, and project funding will be administered by the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

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