NEWS RELEASE · 29th September 2010
Ministry of Forests and Range
Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell recognized six B.C. communities for outstanding achievement in wildfire planning and prevention during the annual Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention in Whistler today.
"It's my honour to acknowledge the leadership and commitment demonstrated by our six community wildfire protection planning champions," said Bell. "Wildfire preparation and prevention is a partnership. We won't be successful in protecting people and property unless we work together."
Recognized communities were selected from each of the province's six fire centre jurisdictions. The acknowledged local governments were: District of Logan Lake, Village of Valemount, Cariboo Regional District, Regional District Kitimat Stikine, City of Kimberley and the Resort Municipality of Whistler.
Projects spearheaded by the honourees include a bylaw requiring FireSmart principles in new developments; removing potentially hazardous forest debris for bio-energy production; and using grazing cattle to remove grasses that are highly flammable by mid- summer.
"This type of planning and operational work has proven time and time again to diminish the interface fire risk and make it easier to battle wildfires when they do get close to towns," said Bell. "I encourage local governments and First Nations that haven't completed plans to take advantage of the program and work with us to keep B.C. residents, communities and our fire crews safe."
Since 2004, the Province has provided more than $37 million to local governments, through the UBCM, to help pay for interface fire preparation. Nearly 200 local governments and First Nations have either completed or are in the process of completing community wildfire protection plans.
During the 2010 wildfire season, crews responded to more than 110 interface fires out of a provincial total of approximately 1,600 fires.