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The new Community Resiliency Investment (CRI) program will expand opportunities for local governments and First Nations to reduce the risk and impact of wildfires by applying FireSmart principles, Forests Minister Doug Donaldson announced at UBCM’s Convention today.

“The CRI will replace the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative with a significant acceleration in the pace of funding,” announced Minister Donaldson, confirming $50 million will be made available over the next three years, with $10 million committed for this year.

For 2019, the CRI will have a scaled structure with up to $25,000 or $100,000 available per applicant, depending on demonstrated wildfire risk. Applicants may choose from a suite of eligible activities that best suit their communities’ needs and priorities.

Projects funded under the FireSmart Community Funding & Support category of CRI will be for activities primarily within the applicant’s jurisdiction. “Funds for activities on Crown lands in and around communities will be in addition to these amounts,” said Minister Donaldson.

“The funding gap that made it difficult for some communities to take advantage of the previous program has been closed,” he confirmed.  Successful projects will receive 100% funding with no cost-sharing requirement.

In addition to wildfire prevention planning and fuel management projects, which have always been important to wildfire prevention, the scope has been expanded to include demonstration projects, training, public education and community engagement, interagency cooperation and development considerations.

For the first time, provincial funding will be available to First Nations for on-reserve fuel management projects.  Also new, funding may be used to provide incentives to private land owners to conduct FireSmart activities on their properties.

UBCM will administer the program in collaboration with the BC Wildfire Service, First Nations’ Emergency Services Society and the Forest Enhancement Society of BC, assisted by the BC FireSmart Committee.