Alberta invests in projects to protect communities from wildfire

In a news release the Government of Alberta has announced funding to address recommendations from the Flat Top Complex Wildfire Review.  Budget 2014 allocates $31 million in 2014-15 and a total of $115 million over the next three years as part of a long-term commitment to address the 21 recommendations of the Flat Top Complex Wildfire Review. Over one third of the dollars will be directed towards FireSmart projects, including tree thinning and removal work around communities.

Other initiatives will include enhancing emergency response planning, hiring additional firefighters for a longer duration and public education efforts in forested regions.

“Learning from disasters is important and the knowledge we gained from the Slave Lake wildfire is being put into practice. Our government is taking action to protect both our communities and our forests.” – Robin Campbell, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development

The $31 million in this year’s budget follows an investment of $18 million to respond to Flat Top Complex Wildfire Review recommendations in 2013-14.

“The FireSmart Program delivers significant benefits to Alberta communities at risk—anything we can do related to wildfire prevention and mitigation is critical.” –  Todd Nash, Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA) General Manager

In 2013-14, FRIAA administered $4.5 million in grants for 19 municipal FireSmart projects on behalf of the province.