Ottawa denies funding for wildfire prevention program
FireSmart hoped to develop national standards to protect forested communities
The federal government has turned down a request for support from a group that is working to protect communities from wildfires such as the one that ravaged Slave Lake, Alberta.
FireSmart Canada asked Ottawa for about $1 million over two years in seed money to help get its national program off the ground.
The money was to be used to develop and promote a national standard of wildfire prevention planning information for municipalities located within forests and for rural homeowners.
Tom Burton, president of the non-profit organization, says Public Safety Canada rejected the request it made last year just a few weeks ago.
The wildfires that swept through Slave Lake in May 2011 caused more than $1 billion in property damage and firefighting costs.
FireSmart Canada's program includes tips on how to clear brush and trees away from buildings, the need to establish fire breaks around communities and developing a wildfire evacuation strategy.
Using donations, the group launched a website last summer.
A Public Safety Canada official says it turned down FireSmart Canada because the department doesn't have a "mechanism" to deal with funding requests.