Community Wildfire Risk Reduction Grants, Jan. 31

Oregon State Fire Marshal release – Salem, Ore. – The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s commitment to wildfire resilience is yielding significant successes from community wildfire risk reduction grants and investments. This innovative funding approach allows communities across the state to develop local solutions to reduce wildfire impact. This was made possible by 2021’s Senate Bill 762. Among the triumphs are 22 strategic investments totaling more than $2.6 million and 106 Community Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant projects amounting to $18 million. These funds were used to empower communities, fostering a collaborative spirit in the face of increasing wildfire risks. The OSFM has launched an ArcGIS StoryMap to highlight how these investments are successful in communities across the state. A few of the stories shared include: The Sweet Home Fire District launched a community wildfire risk reduction program in August 2023. Part of the work created a fire break within city limits. Several weeks after the fire break was created, it helped firefighters stop a quick-moving blaze. The incident highlighted the importance of community-driven efforts and the tangible impact of grant-funded projects. Similarly, the city of Jacksonville undertook a significant project in Forest Park, leveraging the investment funds from the OSFM. The city created substantial fuel breaks, thinning dense brushlands, pruning trees, and removing debris, safeguarding public spaces. These examples tell a powerful story of transformation, emphasizing the real-life impact of defensible space on community safety and resilience. Defensible space is not a one-time endeavor but an ongoing process. The long-term effectiveness of these initiatives requires sustained maintenance. The OSFM recognizes this reality and is actively engaging communities in ongoing work. Empowering people with the knowledge and resources to maintain defensible space ensures the longevity of these protective measures. The journey toward a fire-adapted Oregon requires more than just community involvement; it demands decades of sustainable funding. Ongoing financial support is paramount to realizing and maintaining the state’s critical need for fire resilience. Only through a continued commitment to investment and collaboration can Oregon forge ahead on its path to becoming a beacon of fire adaptation and community safety. This one-time funding is part of a multi-pronged approach to the OSFM’s efforts in rising to the challenge of wildfire. As a companion to these investments, the OSFM also issued grants to local fire agencies to hire additional firefighting and prevention staff. The agency launched a defensible space assessment program to give home and property owners tailored solutions to increase their protection against wildfire. Oregonians can request an assessment here.

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