The Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council still has money available to help local property owners abate the land around structures, according to Executive Director Edwina Scott.
The grant funds will disappear on July 1 unless Scott can obtain approval to extend the grant beyond the end of the fiscal year (June 30).
Although it has been a very dry year, the cold winter and intermittent precipitation has discouraged homeowners from seeking the FSC’s assistance, Scott said. Consequently, about $70,000 is still available to aid local abatement.
Vacant parcels need, and are also required, to be abated. As long as the work is within 100 feet of a structure it qualifies for the grant money, Scott advised. The grant will pay 65 percent of the cost and the balance, 35 percent is the property owner’s share.
A recent U.S. Forest Service report, “Wildfire, Wildlands, and People: Understanding and Preparing for Wildfire in the Wildland-Urban Interface,” urges residents to proactively abate property in communities adjacent to forests.
Research has demonstrated the success of abatement and creation of “defensible space” in reducing the threat of wild fires and diminishing their intensity if they start.
“Communities with robust wildfire prevention programs are likely to have fewer human-caused wildfires. In addition, fire intensity is dramatically reduced in areas where restoration work has occurred,” U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said.
According to Forest Service research, “Some of the greatest barriers to action include the lack of time, money, assistance and technical knowledge,” all of which the local FSC can provide to help the property owner, which subsequently benefits the entire community, Scott stressed.