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ONME News Brief: California ramps up wildfire prevention work

California is scaling up work to prepare, prevent, and mitigate the threat of wildfire – investing in more projects throughout the state to help protect underserved communities

By ONME Newswire

SACRAMENTO – California continues to prepare communities against the devastating impacts of wildfires, with Governor Gavin Newsom announcing new investments last week that will ramp up defenses around homes, reduce overgrown vegetation, improve evacuation routes for rural communities and more.

The $113 million in new funding, made possible by the $52 billion California Climate Commitment budget, will support 96 wildfire prevention projects across the state – with more than 8 in 10 grants directed towards vulnerable or underserved communities.

“These kinds of projects save lives and livelihoods, and we’re scaling it up," said Newsom. "It was work like this that helped communities like South Lake Tahoe and Pollock Pines avert unknowable destruction. Our goal is to stop devastation before it happens – to keep Californians safe, and preserve our communities and shared history.”

CAL FIRE’s Wildfire Prevention Grants Program funds programs to protect people, structures, and communities. This year’s investment adds to the 144 ongoing projects funded last year and includes hazardous fuels reduction and wildfire prevention planning and education. These projects support the goals and objectives of California’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan, as well as the Strategic Fire Plan for California.

“Investing in communities before a wildfire strikes is a critical component of California’s wildfire strategy" said CAL FIRE Director and Fire Chief Joe Tyler. These proactive investments support local projects that protect, engage, and educate communities to increase wildfire prevention and resiliency efforts throughout the state. Wildfire is a year-round reality in California, and even though a historically wet winter was the exception this year, we are always ready for when conditions change and to continue our charge of creating a more wildfire resilient California. We are proud to help further this important and proactive work.”

“This investment is critical for increasing the resiliency of our rural community against catastrophic wildfire, and we’re excited to get to work," said grant recipient Trinity County Resource Conservation District. This timely funding will provide critical defensible space support for low-income, disabled, and senior community members. In addition, it gets us closer to fulfilling the goals of our fire protection plan while helping to protect the communities of Weaverville, Junction City and Lewiston—strategic areas that have all been threatened by major wildfires in the past decade. These projects help complete critical projects underway, improve evacuation routes, and add strategic fuel breaks around our homes and communities.”

The Trinity County Resource Conservation District will receive nearly $2 million for fuel reduction work in rural, low-income communities and grant funding will assist in providing defensible space work around 100 homes for vulnerable residents in Weaverville, Junction City and Lewiston.

In San Diego County, the Pala Band of Mission Indians is one of many tribal organizations receiving funding for wildfire prevention efforts. Their projects will include fuels reduction efforts to prevent roadside fires and provide safe evacuation routes near the community of Pala, which includes a 10-acre fuel break, planned as a result of the Mesa Fire which ignited on June 21, 2021. (View all the projects and awards here.)

The Wildfire Prevention Grants Program is funded as part of California’s Wildfire & Forest Resilience efforts with a portion of the program funded through California Climate Investments (CCI), which puts cap-and-trade dollars to work.


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