Grant will allow BLC to develop better fire protection plan

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County has initiated steps to seek FireSmart funding to complete a structure protection plan in four wildland areas.
At its regular meeting Nov. 10, council endorsed an application from Big Lakes County Fire Services for $40,000 from the Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta [FRIAA].
The protection plan would cover Hilliard’s Bay Estates, Hilliard’s Bay Provincial Park, Shaw’s Point Resort and Winagami Lake Provincial Park, says Brett Hawken, director of community and protective services.
“Big Lakes has been short-listed in the grant application process, and to move forward, the fire service requires council’s support,” Hawken said.
The letter of support would be included in the request for proposals by the county to FRIAA.
He says the protection plan would consolidate separate plans already in place developed by Alberta Environment and Parks, Shaw’s Point and Hilliard’s Bay Estates for their jurisdictions.
“It can make it a more effective plan,” Hawken said.
“It would just put a plan in place in case a wildfire happens in any of those areas.”
Big Lakes Fire Services administration team submitted an expression of interest on Sept. 13.
The intent of the proposal is to first use the funding to hire a contractor. A selected contractor would create a structure protection plan, which would include a wildfire threat assessment, identification of water sources, hose and pump requirements, sprinkler head requirements, maps indicating hose and sprinkler layout, values-at-risk mapping, timing requirements, person hours estimations to set up, training requirements, and weather.
No funding from Big Lakes is required for the grant.

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