Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Grant Offers Defensible Space Help for Local Landowners

Posted By on Tue, Dec 15, 2020 at 12:35 PM

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The County of Humboldt is offering private landowners the opportunity to participate in the Fire-adapted Landscapes and Safe Homes (FLASH) cost-share program designed to help create defensible space around homes and property.

Grant funding for this program is provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) .

Read more about the program and how to submit an interest form below:

Humboldt County, CA – The County of Humboldt, under the guidance of the Humboldt County Fire Safe Council (HCFSC), is offering private landowners the opportunity to participate in the Fire-adapted Landscapes and Safe Homes (FLASH) cost-share program. Grant funding for this program is provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) as part of the California Climate Investments Program. FLASH is intended to incentivize landowners to carry out wildfire preparedness actions recommended in the Humboldt County Community Wildfire Protection Plan. Funding and technical assistance is available to landowners seeking to effectively create defensible space around their homes and reduce hazardous fuels (flammable vegetation) along access routes and in strategic locations on their property. The County is in the process of contracting with FLASH Technicians who should be ready to start scheduling site visits in late January/early February. All work associated with the FLASH program must be complete before January 2024.

Please visit the FLASH Webpage for more information (www.humboldtgov.org/FLASH) and to fill out an interest form. This multi-year, first-come-first-serve program will remain open until all available grant funds are committed. Interest forms will be prioritized on a rolling basis primarily based on how well they align with the program’s goal of serving senior, alter-able, and/or low-income residents unable to perform the work without assistance. Meeting priority participant criteria is not a program requirement, however those who meet one or more of the criteria will be placed at the top of the list as site visits are scheduled.

While the program is offered countywide (excluding municipalities), those who live in neighborhoods located within the wildland-urban interface, within the State Responsibility Area, and within a High or Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones are at the highest risk to wildfire impacts and are the target audience for FLASH. To maximize effectiveness, the program will incentivize the creation of a landscape (rather than islands) of defensible space within target neighborhoods by waiving the half-acre minimum project size when multiple landowners with adjacent properties coordinate participation.

Interested landowners who are invited to participate in FLASH will receive a free site visit and a Home Risk Assessment from a trained FLASH Technician. During the site visit, the FLASH Technician will evaluate wildfire hazards and make risk reduction recommendations. Landowners are then provided with a vegetation management prescription and a reimbursement estimate from the program’s share of cost. Cost-share rates and practices are determined by fuel loading, slope, ecosystem type, and accessibility, and are subject to approval by the landowner. Landowners can choose how they want fuels on their property to be removed—they can hire a crew or complete the work themselves—and will receive compensation for a portion of the project costs on a per acre rate. Compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and ordinances is required. Follow up visits from program staff determine whether the vegetation management prescription has been adequately fulfilled and the project is documented through photos, maps and work descriptions. All project work, including full slash disposal, must be completed before reimbursement can be received.

Through professional services agreements with the County, local fire safe councils, community organizations, or independent contractors implement the FLASH Program within their respective service areas. Overall grant administration and program oversight are provided by the Humboldt County Natural Resources Planning Division with guidance from the HCFSC, University of California Cooperative Extension, and CAL FIRE. Each of these organizations bring experience and expertise to the process of designing and carrying out the best possible program.

Please direct questions to Cybelle Immitt at: cimmitt@co.humboldt.ca.us or call (707) 267-9542. 
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Kali Cozyris

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Kali Cozyris is the calendar editor of the North Coast Journal.

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