By ROY WOOD
As the threat of wildfires continues to increase on the margins of urban areas, Osoyoos is applying for more than $70,000 in grants for additional equipment and for public education.
In a pair of reports to council this afternoon, fire chief Dave McMahon outlined applications to two Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) grant programs aimed at increasing preparedness and community education.
“Osoyoos Fire Rescue (OFR) currently has no wildland firefighting equipment,” he said. The town is seeking $25,000 from a UBCM program for volunteer department equipment and training.
“The equipment … would allow our members to respond to wildfire events in our urban interface areas,” he said.
As well, the equipment would make OFR more capable of supporting neighbouring communities like Oliver, Anarchist and Keremeos in their wildfire response efforts.
Another UBCM program is intended to help communities understand the high-risk areas and the potential impacts of wildfires.
McMahon said the $30,000 grant being sought would go toward:
- Public education. Including two public information sessions, one prior to fire season for locals and another during the fire season for non-locals, to “disseminate information on preparedness, mitigation and prevention.”
- Planning around wildfire preparedness. Including bylaw development within wildfire interface areas, landscaping requirements and wildfire considerations for development permits within municipal boundaries.
Council unanimously supported both applications.