When we spoke to Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell last month, he told us he hadn't heard of any problems with the provincial funding for community wildfire protection plans. But following Public Eye's extensive coverage of those problems - which included identifying dozens of communities that don't have such plans - Minister Bell has announced he will be assigning 16 additional wildfire management branch staff to "accelerate" their completion. Our reporting also revealed many communities don't have the money to act on those plans. And there's some relief for them too. The Union of British Columbia Municipalities will now use provincial dollars to pick up 75 percent of the cost of all forest fire mitigation projects - up from 50 percent.
October 1, 2009