With massive tree mortality across California, CAL FIRE announced Monday it has awarded 19 State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund grants in six counties that have been greatly affected by tree mortality. Over $1.7 million was approved for local projects focused on the removal of dead and dying trees in order to reduce the wildfire threat around homes within the counties of Fresno, Kern, Madera, Mariposa, Tulare and Tuolumne.
“With over 29 million dead or dying trees and following a very devastating fire season in California, the work that these grants will produce is essential in preventing destructive wildfires and protecting Californians in areas hit hard by tree mortality,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director and state forester. “These projects will lead to positive results in those counties hit hardest by tree mortality due to drought and bark beetle infestation.”
CAL FIRE worked quickly to streamline and expedite the review and approval of the grants based on the Oct. 30, 2015, Governor’s State of Emergency due to tree mortality. These projects will reinforce CAL FIRE’s ongoing efforts to reduce the risk and potential impacts of large, damaging wildfires in areas experiencing significant tree mortality.
California’s 2015-16 State Budget provided for $5 million in local grants from the State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund aimed at funding local entities’ efforts to augment CAL FIRE’s ongoing fire prevention activities. The remaining $3.2 million of grant funds to be awarded will follow the established review process over the next couple of months and will support projects that contribute to fire prevention efforts around homes across the State within the State Responsibility Area.