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Call to Action aimed to spark prevention, awareness in B.C. wildfire areas

Canada’s forest ministers at federal and provincial level sign on to national strategy
Structures and trees burned by the Bush Creek East Wildfire are seen near Lee Creek, B.C., on Monday, September 11, 2023. Canadian federal, provincial and territorial forestry ministers have signed on to a national strategy they say aims to raise awareness of wildfire risks across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Canadian federal, provincial and territorial forest ministers have signed on to a national strategy that they say aims to raise awareness of wildfire risks across the country.

B.C. Forests Minister Bruce Ralston, chair of the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers, says the wildland fire prevention and mitigation strategy is a “call to action” to raise awareness, strengthen First Nations partnerships and expand investment in fire prevention.

The plan aims to contribute to a national goal that by next year 60 per cent of Canadians in areas of high fire risk are aware of those dangers, and half of Canadians will have taken concrete actions to better respond to climate change.

Federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says the targets mean Canadians will be able to hold their governments accountable for progress made over the coming years.

The strategy says by 2025 all jurisdictions will “establish dedicated prevention and mitigation governance structures” and have targeted wildfire training across industries and communities.

Ralston says a working group has been created with provincial, territorial and federal officials to decide how the strategy will be implemented.

He says further conversations are being planned with First Nations and industry representatives, and that the document will evolve as progress is made.

“We recognize that the challenges are bigger than one government, agency or community can take on themselves. It requires a whole of society approach,” Ralston said.

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