SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) has awarded over $9.5 million in grants throughout the state for a variety of projects aimed at reducing the elevated threat of wildfires due to the ongoing drought.
A total of 83 grant applicants will receive funding for projects that contribute to fire prevention efforts around homes. The project will reinforce Cal Fire’s ongoing efforts to address the risk and potential impacts of large, damaging wildfires.
Mariposa and Madera Counties will receive over $161,000 for hazardous fuels removal, says Cal Fire Prevention Specialist Karen Guillemin-Kanawyer.
“The grant will be used for roadway clearance on non-County-maintained roads in Madera and Mariposa Counties,” says Guillemin-Kanawyer. “The basic plan is in place but the specific roads are to be determined. We will be identifying the roads with our tree mortality and continued drought problems in mind.”
The Fire Prevention Fund Grants, created in the 2014-15 budget, are aimed at supplementing Cal Fire’s ongoing activities by funding local entities’ efforts to help counteract the effects of the drought. Grant criteria weighted projects that addressed fire risk and potential impact of wildfire to habitable structures in the State Responsibility Area, as well as community support and project feasibility.
“The high number of grant applications we received underscores just how vested the citizens of California are in preparing for our state’s inevitable wildfires,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director and state forester. “We are looking forward to seeing ‘on the ground’ results these projects will yield.”
Project types include, but may not be limited to, those related to fuel (vegetation) hazard reduction, fire prevention education, and fire prevention training and planning that reduce the risk of wildfire upon habitable structures in SRA as worsened by drought conditions.
Examples of qualifying project types include the following:
- Vegetation clearance in critical locations to reduce wildfire intensity and rate of spread
- Selective tree removal (thinning) to improve forest health to withstand wildfire
- Fire prevention public education
- Emergency evacuation planning
- Creation of strategic wildfire planning documents, such as a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP)
- Create or maintain fuel breaks in strategic locations, as identified in Cal Fire Unit Fire Plans or a Community Wildfire Protection Plan
- Remove ladder fuels to reduce the risk of crown fires
- Remove dead and dying trees
- Community level fire prevention programs such as community chipping days, roadside chipping, and green waste bin programs
- Modify vegetation adjacent to roads to provide for safer ingress and egress of evacuating residents and responding emergency personnel
- Reduce fuel loading around critical firefighting infrastructure, including, but not limited to, fire hydrants, water drafting locations, and staging areas
For more on the Fire Prevention Fund Drought Related Grant Program visit: http://calfire.ca.gov/fire_prevention/fire_prevention_fund_grants.php
A full list of the grant projects can be viewed at: http://www.fire.ca.gov/grants/downloads/SRAFPF_ApprovedProjects_for_Funding_030915.pdf