Victoria – The record temperatures as we get into Spring, is a wonderful thing.
Then reality sets in.
In the wake of two of the worst wildfire seasons on record, the British Columbia government is stepping up with more fire prevention strategies, programs and funding to help keep British Columbians and their communities safe this summer.
As part of the recent 2019 budget, wildfire management funding has increased by 58% to $101 million annually. The additional funding will help the BC Wildfire Service add to its fire response capabilities – adding more crews, enhancing aerial capacity and including innovative technology – and spending more on fire prevention activities, including a more comprehensive prescribed burning program backed by an initial $10 million.
Wildfire prevention funding initiatives include the following:
- The $50-million Community Resiliency Investment program was established in September 2018 to help local governments and First Nations lower wildfire risks around their communities. As part of Budget 2019, an additional $10 million has been added, for a total of $60 million. Results from the first application intake will be announced by the end of March 2019.
- Victoria has increased funding under the Forest Carbon Initiative by $13 million over the next three years, allowing it to take advantage of matching funding from the federal government. This money is used for reforestation and restoration initiatives that not only capture carbon, but also reduce wildfire risks. This funding is in addition to the $235 million provided to the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C., of which nearly $180 million has been allocated.
Still no word on any additional funding for BC Search and Rescue.