Funds announced for Sicamous firefighter training, forest fire prevention

Fire department to receive about $175,000 in grant funding

Grant funding of around $175,000 will help bolster training and wildfire prevention efforts with the Sicamous Fire Department.

A Community Emergency Preparedness Fund Grant, which totals just less than $25,000, will help outfit the training centre the department is working on in Sicamous’ Industrial Park.

Fire Chief Brett Ogino said shipping containers will be assembled into a training structure and the department is working on servicing the site with propane, which can be be used for live fire training props.

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The other grant the fire department received was $150,000 from the Community Resiliency Investment Program. Ogino said this will bolster Sicamous’ FireSmart program, providing education and assistance to homeowners wanting to make their property more resistant to fire, and also reduce forest fuel in key areas of Crown land within Sicamous’ boundary.

Ogino said the FireSmart work at people’s homes is aimed at reducing the fuel available for drifting embers from a wildfire to catch on, possibly saving the home from burning down. He said the program offers tips to thin vegetation and other fuel on properties that border a wooded area, and funding so property owners can get hired help for fuel management. FireSmart also aims to educate people on the possible fire danger posed by practices like spreading wood chips in flower beds for weed control.

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Along with the educational aspect, the grant will pay for fuel reduction uphill from the Owlhead parking lot west of downtown Sicamous and also south of Bayview Estates subdivision. Ogino said the fuel reduction work will be contracted out.

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