2013 Wildfire Program Changes Announced

Local governments and First Nations will receive more financial support for forest fuel management under the 2013 Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative (SWPI), details of which were announced today.

Operational fuel treatments under the initiative will now be eligible for grants covering 90 per cent of eligible costs. Previously only the first $100,000 in annual funding was calculated at 90 per cent, with a further $300,000 available at 75 per cent funding. Community contributions make up the balance of project costs and can come from cash or in-kind contributions or other grant programs.

The 2013 SWPI changes are intended to broaden the participation of communities in the program. With the risk of wildfire continuing to grow in B.C., partnerships of this kind remain the best formula for wildfire threat reduction and mitigation at the community level.

Sharing the costs of wildfire prevention has been a central tenet of the initiative since the report of the Firestorm 2003 Provincial Review outlined the necessary investment of time and effort to avoid future catastrophes, such as that year's devastating forest fires.

Grants available under the program support local governments and First Nations to develop Community Wildfire Protection Plans, and then undertake specific fuel management prescriptions, which lead to demonstration and operational fuel treatments.

Application intake deadlines for the coming year were also announced: January 25, April 26 and October 4, 2013. The program guide is available on UBCM's website.

The SWPI program is administered by the Provincial Fuel Management Working Group, comprised of staff from the UBCM, First Nations' Emergency Services Society and Wildfire Management Branch of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

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