Hike funding

$416 million in disaster funding goes to homes lost in BC wildfires – Trail Daily Times

The federal government has said it is preparing for what could be a tough summer of wildfires in parts of the country as several ministers gathered in Vancouver to discuss how the funds will support those already affected.

Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said he is advancing $416 million to rebuild homes and businesses lost in the 2021 fires, including in the devastated village of Lytton, in response to a provincial request for disaster financial assistance.

More than three dozen interim housing units will be part of $24 million in funding for Lytton First Nation, he said.

Blair, who first announced the funding on Thursday, said the Lytton fire exposed many vulnerabilities that federal and provincial governments needed to respond to.

As part of Canada’s firefighting effort, more than $500 million from the federal budget will be used to train more firefighters, help communities purchase firefighting equipment, develop a wildfire satellite and support First Nations in emergency planning, he said.

“The work we do together is important, but it’s not just about spending money,” he said.

“There is work to be done in planning and preparation, remediating the soil and working to help people regain their sense of pride and security within their own communities.”

Last year’s wildfires, heat waves, floods and landslides show that British Columbia is on the front lines of tough natural disasters and the partnership between the federal and provincial governments ensures they can react in the right way, Blair said.

The federal government allocated $5 billion in disaster financial assistance to British Columbia after the November floods and the province has filed claims totaling more than $4 billion, he said. Under this agreement, 15% of the funds requested must be invested in mitigation, prevention and adaptation efforts.

An additional $8.4 million in Budget 2022 is provided to help BC First Nations prepare for and respond to wildfires.

Wayne Schnitzler of the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society encouraged the government to focus on supporting communities in areas most at risk and training indigenous firefighters to protect their own communities.

Judi Beck, regional director general of the Pacific Forestry Centre, warned that forecasts indicate fire activity could increase this summer, despite persistent snow cover delaying the start of the fire season in parts of Canada.

“The outlook is significant for fire activity from British Columbia to western Ontario,” Beck said.

– Amy Smart, The Canadian Press

British Columbia wildfires