The Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County (RCD) has been awarded $408,764 from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). The funds will be used to implement projects that reduce the potential for catastrophic wildfire and fire-related GHG emissions across the County by considerably reducing fuel loads in neighborhoods and along important evacuation routes and fire prevention corridors. The RCD will work with Fire Safe Santa Cruz County and other local Fire Safe Councils to help landowners create and maintain defensible space around homes through community-level fire prevention programs such as neighborhood chipping projects and Home Ignition Zone education workshops. We will also work to reduce ladder fuels and create and maintain strategic shaded fuel breaks across the County to improve ingress/egress route safety in the event of wildfire. "The risk of wildfire is a real threat to both people and the environment in Santa Cruz County," said Lisa Lurie, Executive Director of the Resource Conservation District." "In addition to the tragic loss of life and property, extreme fire can devastate the natural infrastructure that we depend upon for drinking water, clean air and healthy soil."
The funds are part of over $43 million to support 66 local fire prevention projects across the State. As California continues to take measures to prevent damaging wildfires, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) announced that “As our crews are busy right now performing fuel reduction work and conducting defensible space inspections, funding these projects will add significant fire prevention efforts to combat California’s severe fire risk,” said Chief Thomas Porter, CAL FIRE director and California’s state forester.
The Fire Prevention Grants will enable local organizations like fire safe councils, to implement activities that address the risk of wildfire and reduce wildfire potential to communities. The funded projects all meet the goals and objectives of California’s Strategic Fire Plan adopted in 2018, as well as the recommendations of CAL FIRE’s “Community Wildfire Prevention & Mitigation Report” to Governor Gavin Newsom submitted in April 2019.