Nevada City, May 23, 2023—Today, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors approved acceptance of CAL FIRE and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant funding to reduce hazardous fuels along evacuation routes in the wildland urban interface. The Office of Emergency Services (OES) applied for and was successful in securing funding made available by both state and federal legislatures for fire prevention and hazard mitigation. In total, OES obtained $1.7 million to increase safe resident egress and first responder ingress by thinning overgrown vegetation and clearing downed storm debris.
The recent snowstorms of late February and early March of this year resulted in a significant increase in the volume of broken trees and accumulated brush along both private and public roads. With a narrowing burn window for residential debris and with just one more month of free green waste disposal in western Nevada County, this funding from CAL FIRE will enable a significant push to reduce fuels ahead of fire season.
"We're aiming to clear debris along as many miles of County-maintained roadways as possible through this grant, expanding our roadside vegetation work to around 100 additional miles, if possible," says Nevada County Public Works Director, Heba El-Guindy. "We appreciate that our partners at CAL FIRE have been helping us restore roadway conditions and prepare our roads ahead of the fire season."
Grant monies will also be used to bolster the Fire Safe Council’s existing free green waste program this spring and summer. Funding from this grant will also leverage and expand the free Eastern County Community Green Waste programming coordinated by the Fire Safe Council, the Office of Emergency Services, the Town of Truckee, and the Truckee Fire Protection District scheduled for later this summer in July and August.
“We are grateful that CAL FIRE not only supported us with their crews responding to the emergency storm events, but they also continue to support our community through recovery. Their partnership with these additional resources will continue to make us more resilient to the threat of wildfire,” says Nevada County OES Director, Craig Griesbach.
Now that funding has been made available, Nevada County may begin Phase I Planning for the Roadside Vegetation Management Program for which it applied in June of 2020. This is a critical milestone in this lengthy grant process. Before implementation may begin on over 300 publicly maintained miles of roadway, right-of-way maps must be digitized, treatment prescriptions approved, tribal groups consulted, as well as biological, archeological, and environmental surveys completed. Phase I Planning is anticipated to take 18 months. Alongside Phase I Planning, the Public Works Roads Department continues to complete year-round annual roadside maintenance.
This program funds hazardous fuels removal, wildfire prevention planning, wildfire prevention education, and wildfire prevention research with an emphasis on improving public health and safety. Funding for this project is provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire
Protection’s Wildfire Prevention Grants Program. The Wildfire Prevention Grants Program is funded through California Climate Investments (CCI), which puts cap-and-trade dollars to work.
FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides funding to state, local, tribal and territorial governments so they can develop hazard mitigation plans and rebuild in a way that reduces, or mitigates, future disaster losses in their communities. This grant funding is available after a presidentially declared disaster. All state, local, tribal and territorial governments must develop and adopt hazard mitigation plans to receive funding for a hazard mitigation project application.