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Sacramento December 2, 2016 – More than $15 million spread across 34 California counties will be used to remove dead and dying trees and thin fuels that could otherwise exacerbate wildfires, CAL FIRE announced today.  Using state funds and fees collected from homeowners who live in California’s urban-wildland interface, CAL FIRE awarded the $15.75 million in 107 separate grants to fire safe councils, resource conservation districts, cities, counties, park districts, fire departments, and other entities.  The funds will help reduce the public safety threat of trees at risk of falling on roads, homes, and other infrastructure.

These Fire Prevention and Tree Mortality Grants will help rural California cope with a tree mortality crisis connected to an ongoing five-year drought.  An estimated 102 million trees have died in California forests since 2010, according to the U.S. Forest Service, elevating the threat of wildfires. Since January 1, 2016 CAL FIRE has responded to over 5,700 wildfires, an increase of 23 percent over last year to date. The funds are targeted to communities in the State Responsibility Area (SRA), where the state is financially responsible for the prevention and suppression of wildfire.

“Communities in high-risk areas for wildfire and tree mortality need assistance and support,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director and California’s state forester.  “These grants focus on reducing wildfire risk through education, planning, and the removal of dead trees and hazardous fuel. We look forward to seeing the results of these projects and the safeguarding effects they have on communities.”

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Out of 264 submittals, a total of 107 projects were selected. The $15.75 million in funding includes $9.75 million from the State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund allowing local fire departments, fire districts, other local community districts and non-profit organizations to create projects that help to reduce the threat of wildfires around homes within the SRA. An additional $6 million from the state General Fund supports of local efforts to remove dead and dying trees that pose a threat to public health and safety and projects that reduce the wildfire threat to homes.

A full list of the grant projects can be viewed at: http://www.fire.ca.gov/Grants/downloads/2017_SRA_TM_GrantAwardees.pdf

Apart from these grants, CAL FIRE this year intends to treat 35,000 acres through prescribed burns and fuel treatments and complete 250,000 Defensible Space inspections across the state to ensure homeowners clear at least 100 feet around buildings. This includes removing all dead or dying grass, brush, and trees, removing tree branches up to height of six feet from the ground, and cleaning leaves, needles or debris off roofs and gutters. Learn more at www.ReadyForWildfire.org.

6 replies on “CAL FIRE Announces Over $15 million in New Grants”

  1. Please expand on the CALFIRE grant to Nevada City using SRA fee (tax) money.
    As most Nevada City residents do not live in the areas designated by CALFIRE as eligible and pay no SRA tax, what city agency was granted $200,000 and who is responsible for monitoring that those tax funds are used in only areas designated as SRA eligible by CALFIRE. Please provide contact info on Nevada City department where we can monitor use of SRA grant money and CALFIRE department that oversees use of SRA tax funds.

    1. Nevada City’s $200,000 is not funded by the SRA fee. The $15 million are not all SRA-funds, only $9.75 million are. An additional $6 million from the state General Fund supports local efforts to remove dead and dying trees that pose a threat to public health and safety and projects that reduce the wildfire threat to homes – Nevada City’s allocation comes out of this funding source.

  2. I guess I was misled by your list of grant funds issued as the list is titled SRAFPF/TM Grant Program. As the SRA tax(fee) is deposited into the general fund I guess the state figures out how much of the grants are funded by SRA payers and those funded by regular taxpayers. Please expand on your knowledge that Nevada City only received a general fund grant. It would be interesting to find out where the SRA funds are being used. ideally SRA funds should be spent in areas where landowners pay a special tax for designated services in addition to those allocated by the state General Fund. How does CALFIRE distinguish what landowners receive General Fund grants and who receives SRA funds?
    Who is accountable for assuring that grant monies are spent for the specific fire issues designated by CALFIRE?

    1. You should have read CAL FIRE’s news release more carefully because the funding split is clearly mentioned. TM stands for Tree Mortality which are the General Fund monies, whereas SRAFPF is the SRA fee portion. Your statement that the SRA fee is deposited in the General Fund is incorrect, refer to the enacted 16-17 budget and you can see the SRA fee is a standalone budget line (3063) under the Resource Management header. The budget is available online here: http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/2016-17/pdf/Enacted/GovernorsBudget/3000/3540.pdf

      Note that landowners do not receive grant funding, it is reserved for agencies and non-profits like Fire Safe Councils. The complete list of all grants are available and the link is in the story.

      Each grant includes reporting requirements. Since you are so interested in Nevada City’s grant, do contact the City directly and you will be able to obtain a copy of the agreement and all conditions. Each entity is fully accountable for the expenditures. Nevada City is the only entity in Nevada County awarded funding in this cycle, NEU also awarded 4 grants to entities in Placer County and none in Yuba County. Previous grant funding awarded monies to other agencies, including NID and the County of Nevada County.

  3. I guess you have a diffent opinion where SRA funds should be or are allocated. The report is very clear that funds allocated by CALFIRE and noted in this years SRAFPF/TM Grant program are funds intended for those affected in State Responsibity Areas. (Note the last sentence in the 2nd paragraph of the CALFIRE press release)
    As for your comment that landowners do not receive grant funds, no kidding? The fact is SRA grant funds are allocated by CALFIRE at their discretion and were originally intended for areas designated as SRA.
    All CALFIRE funding is provided by the State of California General Fund. SRA taxes received are singled out as a “stand alone budget item” in state reports only to provide info to lawmakers as it is a special tax created by CALFIRE.
    The tax was never approved or voted on by California voters and was designated as a fee by CALFIRE to avoid requiring voter approval.
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    1. No opinion on allocations here, we report news. You appear to be opposed to the SRA fee, as are many people living in this area. Hence the class action lawsuit which we have reported on before and will continue to do so.

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