qathet Regional District (qRD) has announced the return of the regional FireSmart program for 2021.
According to a qRD media release, this is the fifth consecutive year of the regional FireSmart program. With funding support from the Province of BC and Union of BC Municipalities’ community resiliency investment fund, qRD is able to continue to offer education, training and planning with the goal of mitigating negative impacts from wildfires in the community, the release stated.
In 2020, the FireSmart program successfully delivered approximately 65 property assessments at owners’ requests, issued more than $14,000 in FireSmart rebates to date, and delivered interagency training and structure protection unit training at seven fire halls throughout the region. These sessions focused on how to operate effectively in challenging wildland urban fire scenarios.
The release stated the 2021 FireSmart program will see the same successful initiatives implemented in previous years and the hope is the number of residents utilizing the program continues to increase.
“The FireSmart program saw great success in 2020,” stated qathet Regional District’s manager of emergency services Ryan Thoms. “We saw residents spending more time at home, making FireSmart improvements to their properties, and we were able to assist them in doing that.”
Residential property owners are encouraged to request a free FireSmart assessment for their property and they may be eligible for a rebate of up to $500 for FireSmart improvements.
The release stated that people living in forested areas need to be aware of the threat of wildfire, and actions they can take to make their properties FireSmart. Residents interested in information on how to make FireSmart improvements to their properties are encouraged to contact the qRD office, or regional FireSmart coordinator Marc Albert directly, at firstname.lastname@example.org.