Castlegar gets grant to update wildfire protection plan

The City of Castlegar has received a grant that will help reduce the risk and impact of wildfires.

The City of Castlegar has received a grant that will help reduce the risk and impact of wildfires.

The $30,000 grant from the Ministry of Forestry, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development will be used to update the City of Castlegar community wildfire protection plan.

It will take about one year to complete the plan.

“This might be the most important plan we have that few residents know much about,” says Mayor Bruno Tassone. “Given our location, investment in fire prevention planning is an investment in the foundation of our future prosperity and quality of life.”

A community wildfire protection plan helps the city better understand how wildfire might threaten the community and outlines steps the community takes over a period of time to reduce risk of damage to property and buildings in the event of a wildfire.

The city’s current plan was developed in 2007. While numerous recommendations have been implemented, the plan needs updating to ensure it’s in line with the current provincial strategic threat analysis.

Updating the plan will involve new mapping, identification of at-risk critical infrastructure, identification of fuel types, completion of threat assessments, and design and prioritizing of fuel treatment such as thinning, trimming, dead-fall removal and prescribed burns.

The city participates in the Regional District of Central Kootenay regional wildfire mitigation program with a budget contribution of $15,000 in 2018.

The city additionally partners with the Selkirk College forestry program to conduct FireSmart assessments for private property owners, and hands-on fuel reduction using prescriptions on public city land.

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