State offers grants for wildfire mitigation work
The Colorado Department of Natural Resources is accepting applications to share in $5.2 million in grants to reduce wildfire risk in areas where human development and forests overlap.
Eligible applicants include community and nonprofit groups, local governments, utilities and state agencies and nonprofit groups. Applicants must match, through cash or in-kind resources, the amount of funds they receive. The funds are for use on nonfederal lands.
The grant program was created by state legislation passed last year. An initial round of grants exceeding $4 million went to 25 recipients in 16 counties. The program focuses on reducing the risk of property, infrastructure and water-supply damage in what’s called the wildland-urban interface, and limiting the likelihood of wildfires spreading into populated areas.
Some of the projects considered for funding include defensible space work around homes, fuel break construction, and fuels reduction beyond defensible space to protect water supplies or reduce fire intensity. Applicants must show plans to use the resulting woody material, such as for biomass energy or forest products. They also must coordinate with counties to ensure consistency with county-level wildfire risk reduction planning.
Past recipients have worked with the Colorado Wood Utilization and Marketing Program (CoWood) on woody material use, and with the Colorado Youth Corps on possible uses of youth as a labor force. They also have worked with the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute to measure pre-treatment conditions to help gauge the success of the grant program.
The application deadline is March 13 and grant awards are expected to occur in early May. More information is at http://www.dnr.state.co.us/WRRG.