The Maple Mountain fire during the summer of 2018 brought the wildfire issue close to home. (File photo)

The Maple Mountain fire during the summer of 2018 brought the wildfire issue close to home. (File photo)

Grant to fund North Cowichan’s wildfire protection plan update

With the threat of wildfires ever increasing with each year, it’s crucial to be prepared, according to officials at North Cowichan.

Because the municipality’s 2007 Community Wildfire Protection Plan is out of date and in urgent need of a comprehensive update in order to meet provincial standards, staff has applied for, and have received a grant of $34,500 through the Provincial Community Resiliency Investment Program.

“North Cowichan is one of the few communities in North America that owns private forest lands that are managed for the benefit of residents,” North Cowichan mayor Al Siebring said, adding that a quarter of North Cowichan’s land base is municipal forest reserve, “which brings with it a significant responsibility for wildfire planning, prevention, and response.”

Siebring said the CWPP update is an important part of wildfire preparedness for the community.

Last summer fire ravaged the side of Maple Mountain, which is within the municipal forest reserve, highlighting the need for a coordinated plan that’s consistent with the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s wildfire protection approach.

A request for proposals to complete the update is posted on BC Bid and North Cowichan’s website. Updating of the plan will occur over the summer and fall, and the final draft is expected by the end of the year.