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Yukon government, feds earmark $1.55M for FireSmart programs

The funding announcement comes as wildfires rage across Canada, from coast to coast
A component of FireSmart programs is the removal of deadfall and other forest fire fuels. (Courtesy/Mike Youds)

The Yukon and Canadian governments are partnering to invest a combined $1.55 million to support FireSmart projects to help reduce the risk of wildfires in the Yukon.

The funds will be allocated to 32 locally driven projects across the territory in 2023.

The Yukon government will pony up $850,000 of the total as part of its annual budget for Community Services’ Wildland Fire Management branch.

Its funding is earmarked for local FireSmart projects that remove deadfall and other forest fire fuels from greenbelts and undeveloped natural spaces.

Meanwhile, Indigenous Services Canada is supporting Yukon First Nations-led FireSmart projects by contributing $700,00 through the Emergency Management Assistance Program.

The eight First Nations governments to receive additional FireSmart investments are Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, Kluane First Nation, Kwanlin Dün First Nation, Liard First Nation, Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation, Ross River Dena Council, Selkirk First Nation and Teslin Tlingit Council.

The FireSmart program strives to foster expertise in wildfire prevention and readiness within First Nations communities.

In pursuit of this goal, First Nations teams are educated about wildfire suppression, fuel management and vegetation clearance techniques, effectively minimizing the severity and expansion of wildfires.

“Wildfires pose a unique risk in remote and northern Indigenous communities where there are fewer emergency services. This funding is an important step to support communities in their planning to prevent wildfires and be ready should a wildfire happen near their community,” federal Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu said in a press release.

The funding announcement comes on the heels of a Memorandum Of Understanding on wildland fire management that was agreed to last month between the Yukon government and Carcross/Tagish First Nation. The agreement promises increased financial and resource support to combat wildfires and more money for local FireSmart initiatives.

This spring has seen a swift start to wildfire season, with forests ablaze from British Columbia to the Maritimes. In May, out-of-control fires raged across northern and central Alberta.

Quebec is the latest fire hotspot in the country.

As of June 13, there are two wildfires in the Yukon.

Contact Matthew Bossons at