Wildfire Risk Prompts Community Action
From buying portable water tanks and equipment trailers, to providing specialized training and gear to their wildfire-fighting crews, 12 small communities and First Nations are taking action to reduce the threat of wildfires. These projects are being done with support from Columbia Basin Trust.
“Communities are thinking ahead when it comes to adapting and preparing for a changing climate,” said Natasha Barisoff, Manager, Delivery of Benefits, Columbia Basin Trust. “As climate change makes the threat of wildfire all the more prevalent, these projects are helping Basin communities prepare well in advance to prevent fire and minimize damage, ensuring that they have the necessary resources to save properties and protect well-being.”
The projects might involve buying equipment like chainsaws or hoses or offering training courses like first aid or wildfire fighting. They may also include doing essential planning, such as performing a community structure protection inventory or focusing on water availability and delivery.
Since fall 2022, 27 such projects have received over $1 million in Trust support. To see previously approved projects, click here. To view the most recent approved projects, click here.
Here are a few of the latest recipients:
Fauquier Volunteer Fire Brigade
The Fauquier Volunteer Fire Brigade is purchasing equipment, including a chainsaw, generator, water pump and trailer. It is also providing training, such as first aid for its members.
“The community of Fauquier’s volunteer fire department has been desperately in need of some fundamental equipment and training to be better prepared for wildland fire suppression response,” said David Snyder, volunteer. “This procurement of equipment and training will improve our capacity and effectiveness, as well as safety, as we provide rapid, compassionate and professional services that keep our community safe.”
Village of Canal Flats
The Village of Canal Flats is taking several steps to increase Canal Flats Fire Rescue’s abilities to fight wildfires, including purchasing a structure protection trailer to store and carry its equipment.
“As the fire seasons grow fiercer, with the ability to devastate entire towns, the need to acquire equipment at a quicker rate is more apparent than ever,” said Zacc Farrell, Fire Chief, Canal Flats Fire Rescue. “Having equipment ready to go in the event of an emergency will help us respond quicker and more efficiently in an effort to eliminate and reduce devastation.”
Village of Valemount
The Village of Valemount is purchasing roof-top sprinklers that will be deployed on 14 critical pieces of infrastructure and Village-owned buildings in the event of wildfire.
“Hot embers from wildfire can travel far and rapidly start a roof fire, leading to structure loss,” said Eric Depenau, Chief Administrative Officer. “The sprinkler system will help protect the structures against these wind‐blown embers—plus radiant heat and direct flame contact—by creating a moisture barrier around each structure.”
Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit ourtrust.org or call 1.800.505.8998.