Deschutes County’s Project Wildfire program has received about $346,000 in National Fire Plan grants to be used toward wildland fire prevention, and community education.
The dollars will be used to assist the community with preventing wildfire damage on privately owned land. Deschutes County landowner participation will be necessary to make the best use of the grant funds.
Project Wildfire is a collective group of people that meets once a month to implement long-term wildfire prevention strategies and plan for a fire-resistant communities. The group facilitates action, education, and maximizes community efforts to plan for fires and coordinate wildfire prevention.
Project Wildfire’s mission is to prevent deaths, injuries, property loss andenvironmental damage resulting from wildfires. By building partnerships, sharingresources and eliminating overlap in services, Project Wildfire succeeds whereindividuals and solo agencies cannot.
The FireFree program was created following the devastating 1997 Skeleton Firein Bend. FireFree creates awareness and educates residents about the risk ofwildfire to their property and the steps to take to reduce those risks. Theprogram encourages property owners to create defensible space around homes andto properly dispose of yard debris. FireFree is one component of ProjectWildfire.
The $100,000 FireFree grant will be managed by Project Wildfire and will be usedto expand services of the FireFree program in 2006-07. This community assistancegrant will fund community fuels treatment projects, and will pay for educationalcomposting and yard debris campaigns.
The $135,000 Community Assistance grant will assist economically andphysically disadvantaged citizens by helping them treat hazardous wildland fuelsaround their homes. Grant recipient criteria are being established now byProject Wildfire staff, Deschutes County’s Community Development and HealthDepartments and partnering agencies.
A $75,000 Grant for Community Wildfire Plans will be used to create CommunityWildfire Protection Plans (CWPP) for the cities of Bend, Redmond and theunincorporated areas of Deschutes County (Alfalfa, Elk Lake, Brothers) andunprotected lands of the County not serviced by fire departments. Plans arecomplete for greater Sisters, La Pine, Sunriver, and the Upper DeschutesCoalition. Copies of the finished fire plans can be read at thewww.projectwildfire.org website.
The $36,000 FireFree Program dollars have been awarded to the Deschutes RuralFire District #2 to operate the FireFree program and to fund this year’sFireFree marketing campaign.
For more information about these grants, about Project Wildfire or FireFree,please visit the following websites, www.projectwildfire.org(Project Wildfire), http://www.firefree.org/ (FireFree),or call Deschutes County at 322-7117 or Project Wildfire at 322-6396.