Nevada City, Calif. August 14, 2020 – To reduce the threat of wildfire, the Office of Emergency Services (OES) and Fire Safe Council of Nevada County (FSCNC) are partnering to provide free defensible space clearing services to 15 homeowners who are low-income seniors or individuals with disabilities. FSCNC is now accepting applications. Space is limited and residents are encouraged to apply today. A waitlist will be maintained, and residents will be served as future funding becomes available.

“We are pleased that our partnering agencies, see the importance of funding this pertinent program for members of our community that are most in need of help with wildfire preparedness. The Fire Safe Council is encouraging residents to submit applications, as more funding opportunities are now on the horizon. This program, formerly called the Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP), has lacked grant funding for a few years, and we’re ecstatic that we can once again provide free assistance to those in need,” said Jamie Jones, Executive Director of the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County.

Defensible space is the first line of defense against wildfire and is created by removing highly flammable vegetation including tall grasses, heavy brush, accumulations of leaves or pine needles, and tree branches lower than 15 feet off the ground. The cost of defensible space clearing services presents a significant obstacle for many residents who are unable to complete vegetation clearing on their own.

“Wildfire disproportionately affects older adults and people with disabilities. These are often the same people who find it physically or financially challenging to create defensible space around their homes,” said Paul Cummings, Program Manager of the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services. “We’re glad funding is available to help make our community safer from wildfire.”

Applicants should be prepared to provide proof of age, medical disability, income, assets, and household size. Income qualification is based on published Federal Poverty Guidelines. Seniors are defined as individuals who are aged 65 years or older. Applications can be completed online at Connecting Point is available to assist individuals through the application process and may be reached by dialing 2-1-1, or 1-833-DIAL211.

Grant funding to support these efforts was generously provided by the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District. The Northern Sierra Air Management District was formed in 1986 by the merging of the Air Pollution Control Districts of Nevada, Plumas and Sierra Counties. The District is required by state law to achieve and maintain the federal and state Ambient Air Quality Standards, which are air quality standards set at levels that will protect the public health. The District is composed of three primary entities, each with a specific purpose: District staff, Governing Board of Directors, and Hearing Board.