Communities on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast are receiving funding to help prepare for wildfires.

The province is providing $295,425 to help local governments and First Nations make sure their homes, businesses and communities are better protected.

Three communities on the North Island are receiving some of that money. A total of $68,975 will be given to the Homalco First Nation, the Quatsino First Nation, and Port McNeill for education and emergency planning efforts.

North Island MLA Claire Trevena says the provincial funding will help educate residents about the importance of fire safety.

“People in the North Island want to be prepared for the risk of wildfires,” said MLA Trevena. “This funding will help communities put an emergency plan in place and make sure that people are familiar with wildfire prevention and response.”

The Comox Valley will also get $43,900 from the province to help with education and cross-training initiatives. Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard says its important to fund initiatives like this so people feel prepared.

“It’s crucial that residents feel ready and able to deal with the risk of wildfires in their communities,” said MLA Leonard. “This funding will help inform people in the Comox Valley about the importance of wildfire prevention.”

Both the qathet Regional District and the Sunshine Coast Regional District are receiving a total of $182,550. The money will be used to assist with education, inter-agency cooperation, emergency planning, cross-training, FireSmart demonstration projects, and FireSmart activities for private land.

The funding is coming from the province’s Community Resiliency Investment program which launched in September of 2018 and replaced the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative.