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Canada B.C. increasing funds to help communities, First Nations prepare for floods, wildfires

The B.C. government is increasing funding to help local governments and First Nations prepare for and endure wildfires, floods and other emergencies.

Premier John Horgan announced an additional $31 million to the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund at a news conference Friday at Kelowna’s main fire hall.

He says two consecutive seasons of record-breaking wildfires in B.C. and recent flood damage to communities highlights the need for more support to mitigate, respond and recover from emergencies.

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Horgan says the budget for the emergency preparedness fund now totals $69.5 million.

Since the spring of 2017, B.C. has allocated $1.64 billion on flood and wildfire response and recovery programs, including fire suppression and efforts to clean up wildfire risk areas near communities.

Horgan says the fund will be administered by the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

“The past two years have been the worst in B.C.’s history and the challenges of a new fire season are upon us,” Horgan says. “Drought has become commonplace, certainly in the Okanagan, but indeed right across B.C. We’re looking to the season ahead to try and learn from our experiences in 2017 and 2018.”

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