Several volunteer and composite fire departments in the Cariboo-Chilcotin have been approved to receive funding for equipment and training.
The $5 million in funding was announced Friday and is through the province’s Community Emergency Preparedness Fund.
Receiving $150,000 is the Tsilhqot’in National Government.
“Any resources that are going to prepare your community and upgrade your community is always more than welcome,” says Tribal chair Chief Joe Alphonse. “When fires hit in 2017 we learned one thing; no matter how prepared you are you’re never prepared enough.”
The Tsilhqot’in National Government according to Alphonse continues to actively pursue an evacuation center for Indigenous people despite no formal commitment from other levels of government and looks to get more responsibility for fire and disaster management within their own territory.
“We’re continuing to move forward in our plans and our development,” Alphonse says of the evacuation center. “With everything that’s going on today throughout the province and throughout the world, I find it really amazing that there’s no facility anywhere that dedicates its time to training emergency response personnel and that’s something that’s really needed and something we’re pursuing and wanting to get established.”
“Fire season is always a big threat anywhere and the mismanagement of forests, the beetle epidemic has left a lot of fuel,” he added. “There’s a lot of fuel out there so if conditions are right we can have a repeat of 2017 really easily.”
Also receiving funding is the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation ($25,000), Cariboo Regional District ($115,910), 100 Mile House ($21,280), Clinton ($24,840), Williams Lake ($25,000), and Wells ($25,000).
Volunteer Fire Departments in Horsefly ($25,000) and Likely ($25,000) are receiving funding as well.