FireSmart Community Funding and Supports

Administered through the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) with an initial investment of $60M, this program is available to local authorities, including First Nations, to deliver FireSmart activities as supported by the BC FireSmart Committee.

Highlights of the program include:  

  • 100% funding of up to $150,000 across a suite of FireSmart activities.
  • Regional, multi-jurisdictional applications are encouraged
  • Incentives have been added to undertake FireSmart activities on private land.
  • Funding opportunities are available for fuel management projects on First Nation reserves.
  • More information on the FCFS program can be found here: https://www.ubcm.ca/EN/main/funding/lgps/community-resiliency-investment.html

Technical reviews and prioritization of FCFS applications are done by a committee made up of UBCM, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD), Forest Enhancement Society of BC, and First Nations Emergency Services Society (FNESS) staff with final approval by the BC FireSmart Committee.

CRI FireSmart Community Funding & Supports Category Applications & Funding Received

  2019 FCFS Intake 2020 FCFS Intake
Approved Applicants 120 123
Total Funds Approved $9,993,000 $12,100,000

CRI FireSmart Community Funding and Supports & Crown Land Wildfire Risk Reduction FAQ

Q 1: How does the Community Resiliency Investment program differ from the previous Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative (SWPI)?
Among other changes, there is now more flexibility to propose activities that meet community needs, and communities don’t need to cost-share, so a barrier to participation has been removed.  A comparison chart is available online at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/prevention/funding-for-wildfire-prevention/crip (scroll down to the “More info” section and click on “Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative vs Community Resiliency Investment Program”)

Q 2: What are the Community Resiliency Investment program’s funding categories?
The Community Resiliency Investment program contains two funding categories:

  • FireSmart Community Funding and Supports is dedicated funding for First Nations and local authorities to participate in wildfire prevention activities, including those on public land and private land.
  • Crown Land Wildfire Risk Reduction is targeted towards funding fuel treatments on Crown land in areas facing a higher wildfire risk near communities or critical infrastructure.  

Q 3: Who is eligible to apply for Community Resiliency Investment program funding?
All local governments (municipalities and regional districts) and First Nations in B.C. are eligible to apply. Eligible applicants can submit one application per intake, including regional applications.

Funding requests from two or more eligible applicants for regional projects may be submitted as a single application for eligible, collaborative projects.

 

Q 4: What sort of funding are successful applicants eligible to receive?
Funding is scaled to offer eligible applicants with a lower risk of wildfire to apply for up to $25,000 per year. Applicants with a demonstrated higher risk of wildfire can apply for up to $150,000 per year.

 

Q 5: What is considered to be First Nations land?
First Nations land is land that is owned by a Treaty First Nation within treaty settlement lands, land that is owned by a band, or First Nation reserve land.

 

Q 6: Which communities are eligible to apply for the Community Resiliency Investment program (FireSmart Community Funding and Supports category)?

All local authorities are encouraged to apply for eligible grants up to $25,000 or up to $150,000, depending on the demonstrated level of risk. (See Question 17 below.)

Q 7: Is the FireSmart Community Funding and Supports category funded at 100%?

Depending on priorities, project proposals and the level of wildfire risk, successful applications can be funded up to 100%. Any eligible activities on Crown land beyond that could be funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of BC.

 

Q 8: What is FireSmart?

FireSmart is a resource for keeping your home, neighbourhood and community prepared for wildfires. FireSmart’s seven disciplines help protect and preserve even the most fire-prone areas:

  • Education – to keep community’s prepared
  • Vegetation management – to protect homes and structures from the ground up
  • Emergency planning – from protection to evacuation response
  • Cross-training – firefighters for both wildfire and structural fire response
  • Inter-agency co-operation – so stakeholders are working together
  • Legislation and planning
  • Development considerations – like fire-resistant materials, road access, reliable water sources

 

Q 9: What is the “Crown Land Wildfire Risk Reduction” portion of the Community Resiliency Investment program?
Wildfire risk mitigation projects that occur on the provincial Crown landbase is facilitated through the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. This includes fuel treatment activities in areas of higher wildfire risk near communities or critical infrastructure.

In addition, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and Emergency Management BC staff are currently conducting an analysis of areas at higher risk of wildfire and will subsequently prioritize high-value assets and critical infrastructure within those areas. The focus is currently on provincially owned infrastructure.

 

Q 10: Whom should applicants contact to review their applications prior to submitting them?
The first point of contact should be BC Wildfire Service staff at the applicant’s local fire centre.

First Nations applicants should reach out to the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of B.C. as their first point of contact.

Applications that include fuel management activities on Crown land may be eligible for funding in the Crown Land Wildfire Risk Reduction (WRR) category of the Community Resiliency Investment program. Applicants can contact their local fire centre or natural resource district for advice.

Contact information can be found online at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/prevention/fire-fuel-management/fuel-management

 

Q 11: Can an applicant exceed the maximum funding amount? If so, under what conditions?
Applications that include fuel management activities on Crown land that exceed the funding maximum may be considered in situations where the activity occurs primarily within the administrative boundaries of local governments and in logical, contiguous treatment units.

 

Q 12: What happens to projects that were funded under the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative?
Projects that have been completed under the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative can be used to support Community Resiliency Investment program funding applications.

For example, a completed prescription for fuel management could be used to support operational treatments on provincial, municipal or First Nations lands, or a Community Wildfire Protection Plan could support fire risk and applications for additional funding for vegetation management, FireSmart demonstration projects, etc.

 

Q 13: How can applicants get access to technical expertise, if necessary?
Applicants should work with wildfire prevention staff at their local BC Wildfire Service fire centre or the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society to discuss project opportunities, linkages to other planning initiatives and projects occurring on the landbase.

 

Q 14. Is the March 9, 2020 announcement part of the $60 million program announced in 2019?

Yes. The March 9, 2020 announcement of 89 projects brings the total since the program was launched to 209.

Following the first application intake in 2018, more than $9.9 million was allocated to assist with 120 projects throughout the province.

Following the second application intake in fall 2019, more than $8.5 million was allocated to assist with 89 projects throughout the province. Another 35 grant applications from the second intake were still being reviewed as of Feb. 7, 2020.

Q 15: What is the role of the B.C. FireSmart Committee?
The B.C. FireSmart Committee will provide guidance and project prioritization advice for applications that are eligible for funding. The B.C. FireSmart Committee has developed several free, printable FireSmart resources, which are available at www.firesmartbc.ca

 

Q 16: What is the role of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities?
The Union of British Columbia Municipalities is the grant administrator for the Community Resiliency Investment program.

 

Q 17: What is the role of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and the BC Wildfire Service?
One of the goals of the Community Resiliency Investment program is to create a seamless process to reduce wildfire risks on the landbase.

This means that the BC Wildfire Service and Community Resiliency Investment program partners work with the ministry to:

  • establish risk reduction priorities
  • identify other partnerships for risk reduction activities on Crown land
  • implement projects funded through the Crown Land Wildfire Risk Reduction (WRR) category

The ministry’s natural resource districts work closely with BC Wildfire Service staff and provide expertise related to riparian areas, timber extraction, etc. They can assist applicants throughout the application process and provide technical expertise during the review stage.

 

Q 18: What is the role of the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society?
The First Nations’ Emergency Services Society will assist First Nation applicants throughout the application process and provide technical expertise during the review stage. The society will also monitor and evaluate projects through to the final reporting stage.

The First Nations’ Emergency Services Society can also provide engagement, communication and on-site support to communities and contractors, in partnership with the BC Wildfire Service.

Q 19: How does a community provide evidence of wildfire risk?
Evidence of risk can be demonstrated in different ways, including those outlined below:

  • a wildfire risk Class 1, 2 or 3 for the general area of interest (Risk Framework and Risk Class Maps) are available online at: https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/ftp/HPR/external/!publish/WUI_RiskClass/BC_Overview_By_RegionalDistrict.pdf    
  • a local-level plan (such as a Community Wildfire Protection Plan or a FireSmart plan), or other information with data that shows a wildfire threat close to values at risk within and around the community
  • a demonstrated history of repeated and/or significant interface wildfires and evacuations

 

Q 20: What’s an example of a plan (besides a Community Wildfire Protection) that could indicate areas of risk or preferred areas for treatment?
Such plans may include: a fire centre or natural resource district fuel management plan or integrated investment plan; or a wildfire risk plan that’s supported by the BC Wildfire Service and the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of B.C.

If no such plan is available, then the BC Wildfire Service and the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of B.C. could provide support for projects that deal with local areas at risk. Please contact a wildfire protection officer (at your local BC Wildfire Service fire centre) or the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of B.C. to discuss your options. 

Q 21: How does the Community Resiliency Investment program support the B.C. government’s commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)?
The Community Resiliency Investment program assists with the delivery of the tripartite agreement on emergency management practices and capacity (between the Tsilhqot’in Nation Governments, the federal government and the provincial government) by ensuring that every community has the same opportunity to apply for funding, and by building relationships and strong lines of communication.

The Community Resiliency Investment program indirectly supports the principles and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by ensuring that reserve lands qualify for wildfire risk mitigation funding, and by leveraging federal funding to maximize fuel treatment opportunities

  • Penticton Indian Band: $150,000 for fuel management – reducing build-up of flammable materials in high risk areas. PIB is a recognized FireSmart Community since 2016 and this work supplements the work it has been doing
  • Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen: $140,000 for education, development, cross-training, FireSmart activities on private land; updating a community plan and hiring a FireSmart educator for public education and outreach
  • Town of Osoyoos: $36,000 for education and development considerations; hosting public information sessions and organizing a Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, as well as preliminary work to incorporate FireSmart principles into development bylaws
  • City of Greenwood: $56,730 for fuel management - reducing build-up of woody debris and ladder fuels in two areas located close to city structures
  • Regional District of Kootenay Boundary: $93,000 for education and cross-training - sending B.C.’s FireSmart Begins at Home Manual to residents and holding information sessions focused on how the public can help prevent human-caused wildfires, as well as training Fire Department staff to support communities to achieve FireSmart Community Recognition
  • Westbank First Nation: $150,000 for fuel management - reducing build-up of flammable materials on First Nation reserve lands to reduce threats to important community infrastructure and residential areas
  • City of West Kelowna: $64,000 for fuel management - reducing build-up of flammable materials in three high risk areas
  • Regional District of Central Kootenay: $267,000 for education, cross-training, and FireSmart activities for private land
  • City of Kamloops: $418,205 to assist with fuel management
  • Silverton: $440,000 for education, development, inter-agency co-operation, emergency planning, cross-training, FireSmart demonstration projects, FireSmart activities for private land, fuel management

The B.C. Rural Dividend program: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/economic-development/support-organizations-community-partners/rural-economic-development/rural-dividend

Flood and wildfire recovery programs: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/emergency-response-and-recovery/recovery-programs

Forest Enhancement Society of BC: https://fesbc.ca

Department of Indigenous Services Canada On-Reserve Treatment Funding (via the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society): https://www.fness.bc.ca/core-programs/forest-fuel-management/indigenous-services-canada-isc

Union of B.C. Municipalities programs:

Emergency Preparedness Fund: http://www.ubcm.ca/EN/main/funding/lgps/community-emergency-preparedness-fund.html

Emergency Social Services: https://www.ubcm.ca/EN/main/funding/lgps/community-emergency-preparedness-fund/emergency-support-services.html

Emergency Operations Centre and Training: http://www.ubcm.ca/EN/main/funding/lgps/community-emergency-preparedness-fund/emergency-operations-centres.html

Evacuation Route Planning: http://www.ubcm.ca/EN/main/funding/lgps/community-emergency-preparedness-fund/evacuation-route-planning.html

Flood Risk Assessment, Mapping and Mitigation Planning: http://www.ubcm.ca/EN/main/funding/lgps/community-emergency-preparedness-fund/flood-risk-assessment-mapping-mitigation-planning.html

Community to Community Forum: http://www.ubcm.ca/EN/main/funding/lgps/community-to-community-forum.html

Canadian Red Cross Community Partnerships Program: http://www.redcross.ca/how-we-help/current-emergency-responses/british-columbia-fires/community-partnerships-program