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Application period open for wildfire preparedness grants

The California Fire Foundation (CFF) and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) have begun accepting grant applications from California-based fire departments and community-based organizations focused on wildfire safety and preparedness. The grant program continues a seven-year successful partnership between PG&E and CFF. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on June 30, 2024, through the CFF website. Award notification will begin July 31.

Together, PG&E and The PG&E Corporation Foundation (PG&E Foundation) are providing a total of $1.4 million to CFF’s Wildfire Safety and Preparedness Program (WSPP). The WSPP continues to raise public awareness about wildfire safety and deliver resources to underserved communities in high fire-risk areas. It includes a competitive grant program that last year awarded 48 local fire departments and community groups $730,000 in funding.

Funding in 2023 supported:

Purchasing approximately 2,800 pieces of personal protection equipment (PPE) including helmets, boots, gloves, goggles and fire shelters;

Removing over 176 acres of hazardous tree and brush;

Chipping and hauling of 380,500 pounds of tree limbs, branches and other combustibles;

Conducting 25 prescribed fires or pile burns for forest management.

Since 2018, CFF, which administers and manages the WSPP, has awarded 313 grants to fire departments and community organizations statewide, focusing its efforts in Northern and Central California. Funding targets communities identified as having extreme or elevated fire risk as identified by the California Public Utilities Commission.

“California weather conditions remain unpredictable, and residents must be prepared in the event of wildfire and disasters. It has only been three years since the largest and most destructive wildfires raged across California and conditions can quickly change again with new growth in vegetation and fuel due to recent storms,” said Rick Martinez, Executive Director of the California Fire Foundation. “The Wildfire Safety and Preparedness Program is a partnership with PG&E that was created to give residents the best chances at staying prepared to keep their families safe.”

From 2018 to the present, PG&E and the PG&E Foundation have provided $8.8 million in total support for fire safety awareness through the WSPP. The charitable contribution is shareholder-funded, not paid for by PG&E customers.

Since 2018, WSPP has funded:

Specialized fire equipment and personal protective equipment;

Defensible space and vegetation management efforts;

Fuel/hazard reduction programs;

Fire prevention and emergency preparedness education, including senior citizen wildfire preparedness programs;

Partnerships with community groups in high fire-risk areas to distribute fire-safety information;

Fire safety outreach campaigns, including 12,000 multi-lingual brochures targeting under-resourced communities in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hmong, and Vietnamese. The WSPP develops and distributes in-language fire-safety messaging targeting Spanish, Chinese, Hmong, and Vietnamese communities. These efforts include a comprehensive media campaign consisting of outdoor billboards and in-language television, radio, and digital ads.

“Local fire departments, agencies and community groups play a vital role in prioritizing and executing the projects that help protect our friends, neighbors and communities — critical to raising awareness about wildfire safety. We’re grateful for our ongoing partnership with CFF and our shared goal to ensure that our hometowns are doing everything possible to prevent wildfires from starting. Thanks to CFF for providing much-needed benefits through the Wildfire Safety and Preparedness Program such as defensible space and fuel-reduction programs as well as fire safety outreach campaigns to customers in underserved communities,” said Mark Quinlan, PG&E’s Senior Vice President of Wildfire, Emergency & Operations.

The California Fire Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, aids firefighters, their families, and the communities they protect. CFF’s Firefighters on Your Side program, also supported by PG&E, provides multi-lingual, culturally relevant fire safety messaging in both digital and print forms to assist the public in staying safe.