City supporting SRD in project to decrease wildfire hazard near the museum

City council has confirmed its commitment to working with the Strathcona Regional District to help protect the museum from wildfire.

City council has confirmed its commitment to working with the Strathcona Regional District to help protect the museum from wildfire.

In early January, council agreed to support the regional district, through its Strathcona Emergency Program, in pursuing funding to design a plan to help reduce the fire risk in the forested area bordering the Museum at Campbell River.

Council approved sending a letter of support to bolster the grant application but at last week’s meeting, council was informed that more was needed.

“It has been brought to staff’s attention that the UBCM Local Government Program Services grant application process requires a specific resolution which indicates council’s support for the project that includes confirmation to provide overall grant management,” wrote Deputy City Clerk Tracy Bate.

Council, at its Jan. 23 meeting, approved such a resolution which will form part of the grant application for a 2017 Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative Fuel Management Prescription.

If successful, the prescription will identify objectives and strategies to lower the wildfire hazard in the forest located west of the museum.

“Reducing this area’s vulnerability will help protect museum holdings,” Bate said.

The prescription would be a joint effort between the city, the regional district, School District 72 and Strategic Natural Resources which would help put the plan together during field tours with Carihi’s forestry class.

“Grant funding would install signs about fuel management, (and) support student education,” Bate said.

Field tours would teach participants how to “identify fuel types, forest health issues and danger trees.”

Shaun Koopman, the regional district’s protective services coordinator, told council earlier last month that the museum and surrounding area was chosen as the focus site because of its high-visibility.

“A common issue with wildfire hazard locally is the large amount of private land, hence the push within project is to encourage FireSmart principles on private lands by conducting the prescription in a highly visible location,” Koopman said.