An image of the Okanagan Centre wildfire from this summer. - Image: John P. Rodall

District going after wildfire mitigation grant

Lake Country looks for help in preparing for wildfires in the future

The District of Lake Country is seeking a grant to develop a wildfire protection plan for the community.

Council has voted to submit an application to the UBCM-Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative, which would cover 75 per cent of the plan study, to a maximum of $22,500.

The remaining 25 per cent of the cost would be covered by the district.

The CWPP program assists local governments and First Nations in identifying the risks of wildfire to their community and how those risks could be reduced.

The Night Hawk wildfire was a lesson on how quickly fires can spread, and how forest fire fuels on the ground can intensify it.

Coun. Penny Gambell said a tree retention policy she is advocating for would initially seem to fly in the face of any forest fire mitigation efforts.

But she noted both elements would help to further address the wildfire mitigation risks for Lake Country in the future.

She suggested tree spacing as one example of a tree retention policy that also impacts how wildfires can candle or jump ahead quickly and spread, or lessen the potential overall intensity of a fire.

The grant would allow for a professional forester to carry out a baseline impact assessment which would form the basis for creating a district wildfire prevention plan.