A picture of the White Rock Lake wildfire. (Special to The News)

A picture of the White Rock Lake wildfire. (Special to The News)

Maple Ridge considers hiring FireSmart coordinator

New position aimed at reducing the risk of wildfires

Following another year of destructive wildfires in B.C., the City of Maple Ridge is in the process of applying for $50,000 in an effort to keep the city safe.

Preventing wildfires and mitigating their impacts is a provincial initiative, and the FireSmart Community Funding and Supports program gives local governments resources to reduce the community risk.

A staff report recommended the city ask for $50,000 to hire a FireSmart coordinator, who would plan and organize FireSmart safety and awareness activities aimed at the urban interface areas of Maple Ridge – where the city meets the forest.

“An investment in educational activities is a key step in increasing wildland fire resiliency in the city,” said a report prepared by assistant fire chief Stephan Drolet. “The FireSmart Coordinator will focus their efforts on addressing the strategic recommendations specific to education and emergency preparedness. Those efforts will culminate in increased awareness and enhanced resiliency in the high-risk areas of the Wild land Urban Interface (WUI) of the City of Maple Ridge.”

The 2021 wildfire season saw almost 9,000 square kilometers of the province burned, which is the third worst on record, and cost $500 million. The Fraser Canyon town of Lytton was razed.

The issue was before council’s committee of the whole on Tuesday, and will be back before council on Oct. 12.

READ ALSO: B.C.’s 2021 wildfire season winds down, third biggest in area burned

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