Federal government says it is committed to wildfire prevention and response as British Columbia prepares for another season

Federal government officials were in Vancouver on Friday to tout their financial commitments to help communities respond and recover from worsening wildfires.

These commitments include $516 million for wildfire response, funds that were previously announced as part of Budget 2022, as well as $8.4 million for fire planning and response. emergency through the First Nations Emergency Services Society.

Federal Ministers in attendance also spoke of total funding of $416 million committed through Disaster Financial Assistance agreements in response to the devastating 2021 wildfires in British Columbia, and $24 million dollars in recovery funding for Lytton First Nation.

“We have seen the devastating effects that wildfires and natural disasters can have on Canadians and their communities,” said Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson.

“We recognize the importance of protecting our communities from ever-changing threats, many of which are compounded by climate change. Preventive measures will help increase our resilience.”

Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair and Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu were also on hand for Friday’s event in Vancouver, along with representatives from local First Nations and the BC government.

Last year’s wildfire season was the third worst on record in British Columbia in terms of area burned, surpassed only in 2018 and 2017. It also saw the near complete destruction of the community of Lytton in the Fraser Canyon and the death of two residents of the village.

There are signs that 2022 could also bring dangerous fire conditions to British Columbia, with long-term forecasts suggesting hot, dry weather across the country, according to Natural Resources Canada.

So far this year, the BC Wildfire Service has responded to 105 fires that have burned 3.61 square kilometers of land.

While every federal politician who spoke on Friday mentioned the unmistakable relationship between human-caused climate change and worsening wildfire seasons across the country, there was little talk of concrete commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The only action related to climate change mitigation in the “next steps” announced on Friday was a commitment to a June 10 joint committee meeting to address extreme weather and climate resilience.