Columbia Valley Pioneer staff

The wildfire season is approaching faster than you think, which is why FireSmart activities are crucial to stave off the coming threat.

In fact, 10 communities in the Columbia Basin are undertaking projects with support of nearly $1.8 million provided through a partnership between the province and Columbia Basin Trust.

“FireSmart activities are a key component to improving the resiliency of communities across BC,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. 

Johnny Strilaeff, president and CEO of Columbia Basin Trust, is happy to see dedicated communities accessing this program to mitigate the wildfire risk.

“Their efforts attest to what can be done when we work together.”

The program supports a range of projects. For example, actions may include hiring a FireSmart coordinator, developing plans to treat wildfire fuels, carrying out innovative fuel management activities or providing training on how to do FireSmart assessments. 

 Shuswap Band targets hazards

To reduce the danger introduced by influences like Douglas fir ingrowth and the encroachment of common juniper, the Shuswap Band is undertaking wildfire risk-reduction treatments on 31 hectares of Crown land near the Shuswap reserve and surrounding community.

“The Shuswap Band, historically stewards of the land, has a significant recent history of land management in the local area with respect to forest fuel management and ecosystem restoration,” said Lands Manager Sierra Stump. “With this treatment, forest fuel loading will be significantly decreased, reducing the intensity and rate of spread of wildfire and decreasing the threat to the adjacent surrounding community infrastructure.”

The FireSmart program builds on a previous partnership between the Trust and the province, which aimed to help Basin communities build wildfire resiliency while recovering from the economic impacts of the pandemic.