FireSmart funding renewed, expanded

Grants to assist BC local governments and First Nations to undertake wildfire prevention activities have been renewed under the 2021 Community Resiliency Investment (CRI) program announced last week by the Province.

Under the 2021 FireSmart Community Funding & Supports stream, eligible applicants with lower risk of wildfire may apply for up to $50,000 in funding, twice the previous $25,000 maximum. The funding maximum for applicants with a demonstrated higher risk of wildfire was increased last year to $150,000 from $100,000.

Applicants may select from nine of FireSmart activity categories to advance their communities’ resiliency to wildfire. This year, all projects must include an educational component, emphasizing the importance of public engagement in successful wildfire prevention and mitigation activities.

New for 2021, regional districts may exceed the base funding maximum in order to fund FireSmart activities in one or more electoral areas. Regional projects, where two or more eligible applicants collaborate on a single project application, are still eligible.

Also new this year is the Community Wildfire Resiliency Plan, including a supplemental instruction guide and template that are available to help communities assess wildfire risks and guide risk reduction activities. Other important changes for 2021 include funding eligibility for Indigenous cultural safety and humility training, and participation at next year’s FireSmart BC Conference.

This is the third annual intake for the program, which was launched by the BC government at UBCM’s 2018 convention. The CRI replaced the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative, which ran for 15 years. To date 175 different applicants have been approved for 251 projects under the CRI.

For more information, sign up for the CRI webinar (tentatively scheduled for mid-August) or contact UBCM.   

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