West Kelowna Council’s resolution seeking a province-wide wildfire protection program for both public and private lands from the government of BC was passed by the Union of BC Municipalities membership Thursday, September 27.
During the morning session of the fourth day of the annual UBCM convention in Victoria, BC this week, members voted to send the following West Kelowna resolution to the province for consideration:
Whereas the Province of British Columbia continues to experience wildfires due to effective fire suppression activities, drying weather trends and mountain pine beetle infestations on Crown, Public and Private lands;
And whereas the Province of British Columbia government
- commissioned the “Firestorm 2003 Report” (Filmon Report) to provide recommendations to prevent future wildfire events; and,
- provides limited funding for local governments to implement Community Wildfire Protection Plans on Crown and Public lands;
however, does not provide funding for or require fuel mitigation works to be conducted on private lands leaving such regulation to individual local governments to establish, enforce and assume the liability associated with those programs:
Therefore be it resolved that the Union of BC Municipalities lobby the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to enact provincial standards to ensure a province-wide comprehensive wildfire protection and works program is established, funded, executed and enforced for both private and public lands beginning with those lands at highest risk and immediately adjacent to residential areas.
“The problem communities are facing with forest fuel accumulation is simply not manageable at the local level,” said Mayor Doug Findlater. “We don’t have close to the funding or resources that is needed to regulate private lands in this matter. The UBCM membership agreed, the province needs to take this concern in hand.”