Reducing risk and being prepared for wildfires will be the focus for six West Kootenay/Boundary communities over the next few months.
Wildfire resiliency plans are being developed for Fruitvale, Montrose, Warfield, Trail, Grand Forks and Greenwood.
Carlene Pires is the emergency program coordinator with the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.
“Once these reports are completed it’s going to help increase the community’s understanding of and response capacity to wildfire risk. It’s also going to improve our collaboration across multi-jurisdictions and organizations,” Pires said in an interview with Vista Radio.
Pires says developing the plans will include on-the-ground work by a forestry consultant.
“The development process includes community and stakeholder engagement, some field-based wildfire threat assessments. They go and survey the fuel types or the types of vegetation as well as review the community’s response capacity,” she explained.
The plans focus on municipal land, Crown land and critical infrastructure within the six communities. It does not deal with private land.
The regional district will spend $192,000 from a grant (2023 FireSmart Community Funding and Supports) for B.A. Blackwell and Associates of North Vancouver to do the work.
The plans, which will cover the next five to 10 years, should be done by April.
As for other Boundary communities, Pires says wildfire resiliency plans have already been completed for all electoral areas and should be published on the regional district’s website by the end of the year.
Rossland and Midway were already done within the last couple of years.
Pires also noted the information from the FireSmart program that assesses property owner’s wildfire risk is a separate program and information from FireSmart won’t be shared for the resiliency planning exercise.