More than a half dozen five-, six- and seven-figure state grants intended to reduce fire hazards and increase education about wildfire dangers are earmarked for entities in Los Angeles and Orange counties, it was announced Monday.
The monetary outlays, part of nearly $138 million in funding for 105 local fire-safety projects across California, will enable public safety agencies to reduce the risk of wildfire through fuel reduction, emergency planning and fire prevention education, according to Cal Fire.
“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.”
In April, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 85, which provided $536 million to accelerate forest health, fire prevention and climate resiliency. The allocation included $123 million for Cal Fire’s Fire Prevention Grant Program, including $50 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, with an additional $73 million coming from the state general fund.
The Los Angeles nonprofit Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs, which was awarded $4.8 million, is one of many organizations receiving funding for its work to create fire-adapted communities in Southern California while building workforce capacity to assist in that goal.
The Puente Hills Habitat Preservation Authority will use its $617,862 grant to help maintain defensible spaces at the urban wildland interface, and reduce the fuel load with removal of dead and dying trees through goat grazing.
The San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps and Service Corps was awarded $611,597 for forest management that selectively removes invasive plants to reduce fire risk.
The Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains was awarded $389,740 for a project designed to improve homeowner management of defensible space within the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
La Habra Heights will use its $249,250 grant to remove large sources of fuel and creating more defensible firebreaks across the city. The primary goal of the program is to protect critical primary evacuation routes by clearing hazardous fuel in close proximity to the city’s most heavily trafficked roads.
The Santa Catalina Island Conservancy was awarded $185,826 to reduce invasive plant species on the island such as fennel, flax-leaved broom and harding grass that increase the fuel load and intensity of wildfires. The goal is to reduce the prevalence of those species on roadways to protect egress and fire breaks.
The ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena was awarded $161,491 to create a visually compelling statewide campaign to raise awareness of the severe wildfire risks due to climate change and drought in California. The campaign will focus on digital forms of communication (email, social media, Web), building upon the large combined audiences of the American Red Cross and ArtCenter.
In Orange County, the city of Yorba Linda will use its $866,610 grant to target sites that contain some of the heaviest stands of fine fuels and non-native trees and are in close proximity to high-density residential neighborhoods, high-intensity power lines, water facilities and community facilities, including schools, parks and churches.
The city of Brea was awarded $436,462 to reducing the risk of blazes in very high fire hazard severity zones through a variety of prevention and planning efforts, including code enforcement, homeowner education and assessment of more than 960 structures vulnerable to ignition, the vast majority residential.
The Orange County Fire Authority was awarded $250,794 to purchase equipment to be used when completing fuels projects throughout the county, including grading fire access roads, thinning roadside vegetation and removing hazardous dead or dying foliage.
Other Southland recipients and their grant amounts:
— City of Sierra Madre, $71,420;
— City of Hidden Hills, $42,875;
— City of Malibu, $65,000; and
— Los Angeles Emergency Preparedness Foundation, $133,740.
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.