Taking fire

With his hometown expressing concerns about recent fuel treatment funding restrictions, Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell has directed questions about the clampdown to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities - which administers that funding on behalf of the province.

As we earlier reported, the union has put a $500,000 annual cap on the amount of provincial funding it provides for fuel treatment projects - which involve the thinning or clearing of wooded areas that, if left alone, could increase the chances or severity of a wildfire. It's also restricting those dollars to "areas with significant wildfire threat ratings," citing the fact "there is still much to be done, and the funding remaining under the initiative is limited."

The reason: "there is still much to be done, and the funding remaining under the initiative is limited."

Last week, the City of Prince George warned those restrictions could jeopardize its wildfire prevention efforts. But, even though government could left lift them by increasing that funding, Minister Bell tried to shift responsibility for that potential problem.

"The restrictions were put on by UBCM. So you should ask them in terms of their views on it," he stated.

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