Community Resiliency Investment Program

CRI banner

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.

Resources

Community Wildfire Resiliency Planning

 

Community Wildfire Protection Plans were introduced in 2004 as part of the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative. They have served as the primary wildfire planning documents for British Columbian communities ever since, and they typically guide wildfire risk reduction activities for a period of three to five years. In partnership with the BC FireSmart Committee, the BC Wildfire Service is conducting a comprehensive review of the B.C. government’s approach to community wildfire resiliency planning.

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 (CWRP) framework will eventually replace the current Community Wildfire Protection Plan process, but existing current Community Wildfire Protection Plans will remain valid. The Community Wildfire Resiliency Planning framework is expected to be fully 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.

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. This approach will result in more effective wildfire risk reduction activities, incorporate all seven FireSmart disciplines, and better align with emergency planning requirements in British Columbia.

Community Wildfire Resiliency Planning will also support the Community Resiliency Investment program’s focus on:

  • developing community capacity and leadership related to wildfire risk management
  • FireSmart activities on private land and critical infrastructure
  • Development permit area planning for wildfire risk reduction
  • Inter-agency collaboration through Regional FireSmart Committees
  • other FireSmart activities

For more information about the seven FireSmart disciplines and the BC FireSmart Committee, visit: FireSmart B.C.

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 local government and 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 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.

Help shape the future of community wildfire resiliency planning in B.C.

In partnership with the BC FireSmart Committee, the BC Wildfire Service is conducting a comprehensive review of its approach toward supporting community wildfire actions. This review process represents a unique opportunity to learn from previous Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) and current science on community wildfire resiliency, and then apply them to the development of the new Community Wildfire Resiliency Planning (CWRP) process.

Key goals of the Community Wildfire Resiliency Planning process include:

  • increasing communities’ capacity and understanding of wildfire risk
  • fostering greater collaboration across administrative boundaries
  • being 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).

Regional workshops are being held to engage local governments and Indigenous communities and ask for input into a new Community Wildfire Resiliency Planning framework, which will replace the current Community Wildfire Protection Plan process. These day-long workshops will also provide opportunities to learn about important BC Wildfire Service updates, connect with peers and partners, and integrate all seven FireSmart disciplines into future community wildfire resiliency planning activities.

Who should attend?

This workshop is intended for representatives of local governments and Indigenous communities who are currently participating in community wildfire resiliency planning activities, or who are interested in learning more about the process or in helping to shape community resiliency planning in B.C. in future. Attendees could include fire officials, community planners, emergency managers, community foresters and land managers, elected officials, and chief administrative officers.

Workshop dates and locations

  1. Vancouver: Tuesday, October 15
  2. Williams Lake: Wednesday, October 16
  3. Cranbrook: Friday, October 18
  4. Smithers: Monday, October 21
  5. Fort St. John: Wednesday, October 23
  6. Kelowna: Friday, October 25
  7. Prince George, Friday, November 22

*Specific venue details will be provided to registered workshop participants once they are finalized.

Agenda: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

  • Welcome and introductions.
  • Roles, responsibilities, and collaborative approaches to wildfire resiliency. 
  • Understanding Community Wildfire Resiliency Planning and its relationship to FireSmart.
  • Breakout group discussions on challenges, opportunities and tools to implement Community Wildfire Resiliency Plans.
  • Discussion on group outcomes and next steps.

*Lunch will be provided for registered attendees.

Register by November 18, 2019 at noon PST

Please complete the short pre-workshop survey before your workshop date! 

Outreach and engagement webinars:

  1. Tuesday, October 29: 10:00 – 12:00 pm PDT
  2. Thursday, October 31: 10:00 – 12:00 pm PDT

For those unable to attend in person, an online summary session will be provided. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend in order to assist in the development of the Community Wildfire Resiliency Planning process.

 

More info

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


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