More than $2.5 million in grants intended to reduce fire hazards and increase education about wildfire dangers are earmarked for Riverside County, it was announced Monday.
Cal Fire said that of the 105 projects slated to receive Fire Prevention grants statewide, four are in the county.
“This year, wildfires have once again been extremely severe and damaging, which only highlights our continued need to perform more community-based fire prevention projects,” Cal Fire Chief Thomas Porter said. “Our wildfire and forest strategy includes funding these types of fire prevention projects to reduce the severity of wildfires and harden our communities.”
The largest of the allocations in Riverside County — $1.25 million — will go to support the establishment of a Juvenile Fire Intervention Program.
“Early childhood education is key in deterring risky behavior in youths,” according to the grant document, which noted that between Jan. 1, 2019, and Dec. 31, 2020, minors intentionally or inadvertently ignited 160 blazes statewide that consumed about 230 acres.
The program will be managed by the Riverside County Fire Department.
A $750,000 grant has been assigned the Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council in Idyllwild for the removal of excessive foliage and diseased trees that would otherwise provide fuel for wildfires, threatening multiple communities within the San Bernardino National Forest.
The city of Temecula has been awarded $378,000 for its Temecula Creek Wildfire Risk Reduction Community Plan, which calls for eliminating 177 acres of excess vegetation around the creek.
“This fire hazard is severely heightened with overgrown invasive plants, persistent human trespassing, illegal camping and fire ignitions likewise degrading sensitive habitat and cultural resources,” according to the grant award.
The last and smallest of the grants is a $136,743 disbursal for the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians’ Fire Prevention Education & Awareness Project.
The effort involves developing a public outreach campaign, relying heavily on social media, that emphasizes the fact reservation inhabitants “reside on or near fire-prone areas and their actions can make a difference” in preventing blazes, according to the grant document.
More information about all of the statewide grants is available at www.fire.ca.gov/media/ruhkljgy/fy-2020-21-cci-fire-prevention-grant-recipient-list-accessible-9-9-2021.pdf.