B.C. Disaster Mitigation Programs
Mitigation for natural disasters has never been more important. Multiple studies show B.C. is at significant risk for wildfire, drought and flooding, with these risks being exacerbated by climate change. Mitigation measures offer significant returns on investment. For every $1 invested in mitigation efforts, $7 to $10 can be saved in post-disaster recovery costs (Evaluation of the National Disaster Mitigation Program - Final Report, 2019).
The Disaster Mitigation Branch works to mitigate the impact and risks of natural disasters in communities across the province. Specifically, the team manages and coordinates several funding programs that offer support for permanent disaster mitigation measures.
Trends show an increase in the risk and impacts of wildfires. The BC Wildfire Service is tasked with managing wildfires through a combination of prevention, mitigation and suppression strategies, on both public and private lands outside of organised areas, such as municipalities or regional districts.
For more information on wildfire mitigation, visit the Fire & Fuel management webpage.
For information on the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative (SWPI) funding program, visit the Union of BC Municipalities website.
In B.C., drought is caused by a combination of insufficient snow accumulation, hot and dry weather, and/or a delay in rainfall. The Provincial Technical Drought Working Group provides drought level updates for each major watershed in the province.
For more information on droughts in B.C., visit the drought information webpage.
Flooding poses a serious risk to public health and safety. There are a number of professional guidelines that should be followed when completing flood mitigation projects.
Flood Risk Assessment Guideline
Professional practice guidelines for flood assessments to identify the circumstances when risk assessments are appropriate and to emphasize the need to consider climate change and land use changes.
- Professional Practice Guidelines – Legislated Flood Assessments in a Changing Climate in B.C. (PDF), APEGBC, Government of B.C. & Natural Resources Canada.
- Guidance For Selection of Qualified Professionals and Preparation of Flood Hazard Assessment Reports (PDF), Ministry of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
Flood Mapping Guidelines
The guides below are to assist professionals in developing high quality LiDAR and flood maps in a consistent manner, incorporating best practices.
- Flood Mapping in BC (PDF), APEGBC Professional Practice Guidelines
- Specifications for LiDAR for the Province of British Columbia (PDF), Ministry of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development – GeoBC
Land Use Management
Experience has shown that land use management and flood proofing areas susceptible to flooding are the most practical and cost-effective ways to reduce the effect of flooding on lives and property.
- Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines (PDF), Ministry of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Dike Management and Safety
Dikes, such as embankments, berms or other structures, are constructed to prevent flooding in areas of the province.