Photo/B.C. Wildlife Service

District of Kent gets wildfire defense aid from B.C. government

Modest sum goes to fuel management, government officials say

As spring slowly creeps its way in, summer and wildfire season aren’t too far behind.

The B.C. government recently announced officials are providing nearly $9 million to 89 local governments – including the District of Kent – to aid in protecting homes and businesses from the threat of wildfires. Of the $9 million, the district will receive $1,300 from the government to assist with fuel management. This marks the third round of Community Resiliency Investment grants given throughout the province.

“Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities are on the front lines of wildfire prevention, and we removed barriers so our Community Resiliency Investment program met their needs,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “We fund up to 100 per cent of local projects and projects that include Crown land because we know wildfires don’t distinguish between municipal, on-reserve and provincial Crown land.”

RELATED: Chilliwack churns out new generation of wildfire fighters

“The people who call these communities home know all too well the dangers from wildfires,” said Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Our government is committed to supporting local governments and First Nations because it’s their on-the-ground efforts and local knowledge that are crucial to protecting the economic, recreational and environmental lifeblood of their communities.”

The Penticton Indian Band was among the top recipients of wildfire funding, netting $150,000 to help reduce the buildup of flammable material such as wood debris and undergrowth in high-risk areas near homes and infrastructure.

RELATED: Fires burning in Fraser Canyon, Highway 7 and Skagit Valley

Launched in September 2018, the provincial government has committed about $60 million total to the Community Resiliency Investment program to help local governments and First Nations authorities reduce wildfire risk through FireSmart education, planning and opportunities.

Wildfires devastated B.C. during the past few years, razing thousands of hectares across the province and tanking the quality of the air throughout B.C. and the Pacific Northwest.

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