The Village of Telkwa is preparing for wildfire season by seeking funding for additional village staff.
Council recently approved applying for grant money to establish a funded FireSmart position to deliver local FireSmart programming.
FireSmart is the implementation of both prevention and mitigation measures to reduce wildfire threats to the community.
Fire Chief Derek Dickson said Telkwa Fire Rescue with the support of a local wildfire professional has prepared an application package for the 2023 FireSmart Community Funding & Supports program. Dickson told council they’ve also partnered with the Town of Smithers to hire someone to ensure there isn’t a waste of resources.
He added the application will provide a foundation for future applications by ensuring the Village of Telkwa’s continued eligibility for the program.
Not only does the grant application include hiring someone for the Firesmart program but also to develop a Community Wildfire Resiliency Plan to update the existing Community Wildfire Protection Plan to align with the current standards for community wildfire resiliency planning.
In a staff report to council, Dickson said the proposed activities will promote community awareness of and participation in national and provincial FireSmart programming as well as enhance community understanding of wildfire threat given the local context.
Additionally, the development of a Community Wildfire Resiliency Plan will provide strategic direction for future funding applications and community wildfire resiliency initiatives.
The 2023 application value for all proposed activities is $75,893.
The Village of Telkwa was successful in their 2021 grant application. This application included a collaborative component with the RDBN that enhanced the local FireSmart program by providing FireSmart home assessments as well as a rebate program to homeowners interested in carrying out mitigation activities on their homes and properties.
Dickson said implementation of the 2021 project was complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the project was extended into 2022. But now the project has been reported on and is complete.
To date, the Village of Telkwa has been awarded $27,005