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Four Tri-City areas receiving almost $500K to establish joint wildfire prevention program

Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Anmore and Belcarra have been granted a recovery fund to create jobs and interactive awareness for residents.
Coquitlam wildfire prevention overview - July 6, 2021
A shared $500,000 wildfire grant has been awarded to Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Anmore and Belcarra to create jobs and awareness.

Roughly 5,000 properties in the northeast portion of Metro Vancouver are at risk for wildfires due to their location along the "wildland-urban interface."

As a result, four Tri-City communities applied and were granted almost $500,000 today (July 6) to create awareness for residents and to ensure everyone's prepared on a moment's notice.

B.C.'s FireSmart Economic Recovery Fund is giving a total of $496,900 to Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Anmore and Belcarra, all set to work together to reduce property risk in a cost-effective way.

"The intent is to reach residents with at-risk properties in the four communities through education and outreach, to conduct risk assessments and to improve sub-regional response capabilities through training, community education, infrastructure upgrades and other means," reads a joint news release.  

"The sharing of skills and resources will also lead to better long-term outcomes across these communities leaving them better able to reduce interface fire risks and more effectively provide a coordinated fire response."

According to the statement, part of the fund will be put toward six jobs which will be implemented and hired at the local level this month.

This includes four part-time student FireSmart educators in Port Coquitlam, who are set to run programs focused on outreach and facilitating hazard assessments.

The other two positions will be based in Coquitlam:

  • A full-time one-year FireSmart coordinator to establish an outreach program and help ensure cooperation between the various parties through a program charter and information-sharing
  • A full-time six-month Local FireSmart Representative to conduct assessments of homes and critical infrastructure in all four sub-regions, and support education and community outreach, including workshops and identifying neighbourhood champions

Belcarra is also getting a $50,000 cut from the grant to upgrade its facilities surrounded by the village's regional park "that are critical for regional wildfire response," including Sasamat fire hall.

The money comes a week after Coquitlam and Port Moody were each given funds from the province's Community Resiliency Investment Program (CRI).

Port Moody is receiving $149,946 for wildfire risk prevention in the form of education, planning, development and fuel management.

Also on the table are funds for inter-agency co-operation, emergency planning, cross-training, FireSmart demos and FireSmart for residential areas.

For Coquitlam, the city is getting $50,000 from the CRI to assist with education and planning for possible fires.

For more information on B.C. FireSmart, you can visit the initiative's website.

There are currently 150 wildfires listed as active in B.C., though none are in the Coastal Fire Centre.