Nevada County is still dealing with the impacts of the severe winter storm that struck our area on December 27th, 2021. The storm, which downed hundreds of trees and knocked out power to homes across Nevada County, has left an overabundance of vegetation in its wake. This abnormally high level of hazardous vegetation makes Nevada County vulnerable to wildfire during this year’s fire season.
With emergency preparedness at the top of mind after the recent Rices Fire, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution yesterday accepting a $100,000 grant from the League of California Community Foundations’ Disaster Relief, Recovery and Resilience Funds from the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation. The funds will be used to implement a Storm Debris Response Micro-Grant Program for recognized Firewise Communities.
The Micro-Grant program will make twenty-six grants of $3600 each available for projects that increase defensible space around homes, remove hazardous vegetation from private lands, or clear evacuation routes on private roadways this summer. The grants program will be administered by the Sierra Business Council and funds will be made available only to recognized Firewise Communities.
“We have 68 recognized Firewise Communities in Nevada County,” said Chief Information Officer Steve Monaghan. “Organizing a Firewise Community is an involved process and these groups have shown their commitment to making their communities safe. They are the perfect partners to address the hazardous vegetation in our neighborhoods.”
Becoming a CAL FIRE-approved, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)-recognized Firewise Community requires communities to coordinate with the Nevada County Fire Safe Council to obtain a risk assessment every 5 years, maintain a three-year community action plan, invest annually in Firewise projects, and have their application documents reviewed and approved by CAL FIRE.
“This is a great opportunity for our members to lead the work in their own backyards,” said Scott Beesley, President of the Coalition of Firewise Communities. “Our local Firewise Communities are uniquely qualified to assess the needs and put these dollars to work for the safety of their neighborhoods,” Beesley said.
The Storm Debris Response Micro-Grant Program is a first-of-its-kind program in Nevada County.
“This program will strengthen the bond between the County of Nevada and local Firewise Communities as they organize to address the threat of wildfire and prepare for the future,” said Emergency Services Director Craig Griesbach. “We need an all-hands approach to meet the challenges posed by extreme weather. This a great example of the type of public-private partnership that will get the work done.”
Applications for the Storm Debris Response Micro-Grant Program will open Monday, July 18th 2022, and close Monday, August 15th at 5:00 pm. For more information, go to ReadyNevadaCounty.org/FirewiseGrants.