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Ministry says more staff will 'accelerate' town wildfire plans

Last month Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell said he hadn't heard of any problems with the provincial funding for community wildfire protection plans. But The Tyee and Public Eye Online provided extensive coverage of those problems, including identifying dozens of communities that don't have such plans, Minister Bell has announced he will be assigning 16 additional wildfire management branch staff to accelerate their completion.

The reports also revealed many communities don't have the money to act on those plans. And there's some relief for them, as well.

Minister Bell said the Union of British Columbia Municipalities will now use provincial dollars to pick up 75 per cent of the cost of all forest fire mitigation projects -- up from 50 per cent.

Sean Holman is editor or Public Eye Online and a regular contributor to The Tyee.

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