An additional $3 million in grants throughout the state was awarded on Monday, April 4 by Cal Fire, for a variety of fire prevention projects aimed at reducing the elevated threat of wildfires due to the ongoing drought and significant tree mortality. The announcement came just two months after CAL FIRE released nearly $2 million for fire prevention projects in the counties hit hardest by tree mortality and bark beetle.
“This grant funding will help communities prepare for what is likely to be another challenging fire season,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director and California’s state forester. “These grants will help complete vital fire prevention projects to help mitigate some of the impacts created by four years of drought and hazardous fuel build up.”
These grants are part of $5 million from the State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund allowing local fire departments and fire districts to create projects that help to reduce the threat of wildfires around homes within the State Responsibility Area. With Monday’s announcement for funding of 44 additional projects, it brings the total number of projects funded to 63. These projects will reinforce and augment CAL FIRE’s ongoing projects and efforts to address the risk and potential impacts of large, damaging wildfires. Grant selection criteria weighted projects that address fire risk and potential impact of wildfire to habitable structures in the State Responsibility Area, as well as community support and project feasibility. Several of the just-funded projects are in neighboring Calaveras and Tuolumne counties, hard hit by wildfires last year.
While firefighters are busy working on fire prevention projects including brush clearance, fire breaks and fuel reduction, officials stress the need for residents to do their part. This is the time of year when residents should be working to ensure they have 100 feet of ‘Defensible Space’ around their homes. This includes removing all dead or dying grass, brush and trees, limbing up branches six feet from the ground, and cleaning leaves, needles or debris off roofs and gutters. Learn more at www.ReadyForWildfire.org.