In August, Cal Fire announced the awarding of nearly $170 million in grants to public groups and nonprofit groups. The grants were awarded in two categories — forest health and fire threats.
Of the 142 fire-prevention grants, which totaled $79.7 million, the Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council will receive $600,000. Also, the Riverside County Fire Department was granted $2.75 million for fuel-reduction projects.
“I’m very happy,” said Edwina Scott, executive director of the MCFSC. The majority of these funds will continue to be used to remove dead or dying trees, which either the bark beetle or the goldspotted oak borers infested. The funding should be available later this fall or early winter, she hopes.
“The sooner we identify the oaks dying from the GSOB, the sooner we can protect the oaks around them,” Scott said.
The county was awarded another grant of about $850,000 to “remove 350 dead, dying or diseased trees in a 7,000 acre area of the San Jacinto Mountains,” wrote Jeremy Murphy, administrative services analyst for the Riverside County Fire Department.
“The projects focus is on increasing carbon sequestration, increasing carbon storage, and reducing green house gas emissions during wildfires in the area, while also increasing fire protection potential for the local communities in the project area,” he added.
While Orange County was awarded $9.1 million, the vast majority of the grants and funds were given to counties such as Butte (nearly $5 million), Lassen (more than $11 million), Madera ($5.2 million) and Placer ($4.9 million) in Northern California.
Also, $91.5 million was awarded for 23 forest health projects. These also were awarded to Northern California, with the exception of $3 million to Los Angeles County to remove up to 3,000 dead or dying oaks, which the GSOBs have been infested in Green Valley. Humboldt will receive nearly $11 million directly and share another $5 million with Siskiyou county.
Cal Fire’s Forest Health grants were distributed to non-profits, and local and state resource agencies to implement collaborative projects that extend across multiple land ownerships. These projects seek to improve water quality, manage forest pests, and increase the use of tools such as prescribed fire and hazardous fuels reduction to create resiliency in California’s forests.
Funds for the grants came from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, proceeds from California’s cap-and-trade program.