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July 2, 2018 – On June 27th, the Office of Emergency Services formally applied for two Hazard Mitigation Program grants totaling in a possible $10.2 million of additional funding from CAL OES and FEMA. Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding is available when authorized under a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration. As the result of the 2017 Presidential Disaster Declaration due to emergency conditions resulting from Nevada County’s October wildfires, Nevada County has become eligible to apply for these funds.
HMGP funds both plans and projects that reduce the effects of future natural disasters. In California, these funds are administered by the Cal OES Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Unit. HMGP funds may be used to fund projects that will reduce or eliminate the losses from future disasters. Projects must provide a long-term solution to a problem. In addition, a project’s potential savings must be more than the cost of implementing the project.
Both grants seek to minimize the impacts of large wildfires through vegetation management. Proper vegetation management can reduce fire severity, intensity, and the rate of spread. If funding is awarded, Nevada County’s projects will support the reduction of hazardous vegetation, while promoting a healthy ecosystem.
The first HMGP Grant application submitted includes $6.5 million in funding to complete the County of Nevada Community Fire Mitigation Project. The project will include a roadside vegetation management program where 317.5 miles of roadway located in high circulation and evacuation areas will have hazardous vegetation removed, affordable green waste disposal that will treat 2,400 acres of chipping services and add 12 community green waste drop vegetation collection sites in Nevada County, and clearing of hazardous vegetation at 144 homes for people with access and functional needs. If funding is granted, the Nevada County’s Community Fire Mitigation Project would be in partnership with the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County, the Town of Truckee, and the Truckee Fire Protection District.
The second HMGP Grant application submitted includes $3.7 million to complete the County of Nevada Abatement Program. Abatement Program goals focus on the removal of nuisances such as weeds, hazardous vegetation, and debris that might catch fire endangering others. The Abatement Program will focus on fire hazard abatement inspections, fire hazard abatement, and public education presentations. Inspections will focus on meeting guidelines set by California Public Resource Code 4291 and the County of Nevada Abatement Ordinance 2411 guidelines. The Abatement Program will lessen the community’s financial burden by supplementing costs of fire hazard abatement. Community education will focus on defensible space standards, partnership programs and hazardous vegetation removal. If the grant funding is received, grant funds will be able to provide 10,000 defensible space inspections, 60 sections of hazardous vegetation abatements, and provide 20 public education presentations.
Through these actions and grant partnerships, the Office of Emergency Services is creating avenues to reduce the threat and damage from wildfires in Nevada County.