Community Resiliency Investment Program

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The Community Resiliency Investment (CRI) program was introduced by the provincial government in September 2018. It is intended to reduce wildfire risks and wildfire impacts in British Columbia communities by providing funding and support to complete FireSmart initiatives, including priority fuel management activities on provincial Crown land and on private land.

The two primary components of the Community Resiliency Investment program are:

FireSmart Community Funding and Supports

  • The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM), the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of British Columbia (FNESSBC) and the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. (FESBC) are working with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) — represented by the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) — to administer the FireSmart Community Funding and Supports portion of the program for local government and First Nation applicants.
  • This category provides funding to indigenous and non-indigenous governments to participate in wildfire risk reduction and prevention activities, including public, reserve and private land. This program will support activities associated with the seven FireSmart disciplines, which can help increase a community’s resiliency to wildfire impacts.

High-value Assets and Critical Infrastructure Protection

  • This program is currently being developed and will focus on protecting important, provincially owned infrastructure (such as communications towers and electrical facilities) from wildfire threats.

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Comparing the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative (SWPI) and the Community Resiliency Investment (CRI) program
The Community Resiliency Investment program replaces the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative, which was established in 2004.

SWPI

Community Resiliency Investment Program

Reason

Funding was linked to the two-kilometre wildland urban interface area surrounding Crown land.

Funding is community-based and community-directed, but still allows for flexibility on Crown Land.

Local governments have shared the challenges and added costs of conducting wildfire prevention activities on Crown land. There is now more flexibility to propose activities that address community needs.

Program was cost-shared.

100% funding, up to $100,000 (or more for treatments on Crown Land). Other funding opportunities can be leveraged where it is logical to do so.

Some communities found SWPI’s cost-shared program design prohibitive to their participation.

Wildfire prevention programs were not aligned.

CRI aligns with FESBC funding opportunities. FESBC is partnering with UBCM, FNESSBC and FLNRORD to streamline activities across the landbase.

CRI is in line with BC Flood and Wildfire Review recommendations to align wildfire prevention funding.

Regional applications were not part of the SWPI model.

Regional applications will be encouraged through the CRI program.

This encourages partnerships between neighbouring communities and First Nations. It could also help address capacity and expertise shortfalls through the sharing of resources.

No funding available for projects on private land.

Incentives added to undertake FireSmart activities on private land.

This change was requested by communities.

Strong emphasis on fuel management.

A broader suite of FireSmart activities are now eligible for funding through the CRI program.

FireSmart provides a more comprehensive framework for reducing a community’s risk of damage from wildfires. 

Project-focused.

Under the CRI program, there is a shift to evidence-based applications and outcome-based projects, including performance measures.

To ensure the most effective risk-reduction methods are used.

No on-reserve funding was available under SWPI.

On-reserve funding opportunities are available in the CRI program.

The change allows for equal access to funding opportunities.

Technical reviews were conducted remotely in each of the BC Wildfire Service’s six fire centres and through the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of British Columbia.

Technical reviews of CRI applications are now done by committee.

This approach ensures greater consistency in the decision-making process.

Union of BC Municipalities

  • Peter Ronald, Programs Officer, 1 250 356-2947
  • Danyta Welch, Manager Local Government Program Services, 1 250 356-5193

First Nations' Emergency Services Society


Forest Enhancement Society of BC

  • Gord Pratt, Operations Manager, Forest Enhancement Society, 778 765-0983

BC Wildfire Service

Fuel Management Specialists

Program Advisor

FireSmart Canada Liaison

Background:

 

This review process represents a unique opportunity to learn from previous Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) and current science on community wildfire resiliency and apply them to the development of the new Community Wildfire Resiliency Planning process.

 

Key goals of the Community Wildfire Resiliency Planning process are to: increase communities’ capacity and understanding of wildfire risk; foster greater collaboration across administrative boundaries; and be more responsive to the needs of different types of communities throughout B.C. (in terms of their size, their capacity and the threats they face).

 

When will this review process be completed?

 

The new Community Wildfire Resiliency Planning framework is expected to be implemented by spring 2020 and will be linked directly to Crown land planning activities led by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and by BC Parks.

 

This new framework will eventually replace the current Community Wildfire Protection Plan process, but existing Community Wildfire Protection Plans will still be considered valid. 

 

Why is the B.C. government doing a review now?

 

The Community Wildfire Protection Plan process is being reviewed now to better support the Community Resiliency Investment program and how it aligns with the seven FireSmart disciplines. This will benefit communities by incorporating lessons learned from recent interface fires, current community wildfire planning practices (both in Canada and in the U.S.) and the latest science on how to reduce the chances of a structure igniting when a wildfire occurs.

 

A key shift in the Community Wildfire Resiliency Planning framework is the engagement of indigenous and non-indigenous communities in developing the actual planning process. The goals are to ensure that the final plan documents incorporate local knowledge, are easily understandable, are accessible to the community, and meaningful to the people who live there.

 

The original Community Wildfire Protection Plan process was developed in 2004 as part of the Strategic Wildfire Protection Initiative. The new Community Wildfire Resiliency Planning framework will better align with the Community Resiliency Investment program’s focus on community capacity and leadership in development planning, private land grant management and other FireSmart activities.

 

The B.C. government is committed to undertaking fuel management on Crown land and is working to increase opportunities for the forest sector to participate in fuel management treatments.

 

How does the review process work?

 

A comprehensive review of representative Community Wildfire Protection Plans from throughout B.C. is underway to determine how well they incorporate the seven FireSmart disciplines. The government also wants to help communities learn more about FireSmart disciplines that haven’t been included as frequently as others in Community Wildfire Protection Plans (e.g. development permit areas), so communities can benefit from including them in future plans.

 

Similar programs from elsewhere in North America were also reviewed for guidance on addressing community wildfire resilience in B.C.

 

Learning opportunities:

 

Indigenous and non-indigenous communities will have several opportunities to provide input into the new framework. Five workshops will be held in October 2019 in the following regions:

  1. Coastal - to be held in Vancouver
  2. Kamloops/Cariboo/Southeast (central/west) - to be held in Kamloops
  3. Southeast (east) - to be held in Cranbrook
  4. Northwest - to be held in Smithers
  5. Northeast - to be held in Fort St. John

 

Representatives from local governments, regional districts and First Nations, as well as qualified professionals, are encouraged to attend one of these workshops.

 

The workshops will be hosted by the BC Wildfire Service and will feature:

  • additional information about the provincial review of Community Wildfire Protection Plans, including current strengths and opportunities for improvement
  • group discussions on barriers that need to be overcome and the resources necessary to successfully develop and implement the new framework at the local level
  • tools for identifying wildfire threats (and other related resources)
  • strategies to further integrate the seven FireSmart disciplines into community wildfire resiliency plans and increase collaboration

 

In addition, two webinars will be scheduled for people who cannot attend the workshops in person. Follow-up surveys will be available to provide feedback.

 

More information about the workshops, webinars and future framework updates will be posted on this page as it becomes available.