Updated: 3 days ago
By BLENDED TV News
SACRAMENTO – In advance of peak fire season in California, the Department of Conservation has awarded more than $72 million to partners across the state working to build fire-resilient communities. Fifteen grantees received awards this year, bringing the state’s total investment to $140 million for regions working to create fire-adapted communities and landscapes by improving ecosystem health, community wildfire preparedness and fire resilience.
Grant funding comes through the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity (RFFC) Program, which was developed in response to devastating wildfires in California's forest landscapes. RFFC strategically sets up the social and operational infrastructure in fire-prone areas to carry out the Governor’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan, serving as an essential resource in building the state’s capacity to treat a million acres of forest annually.
RFFC supports California’s wildfire mitigation goals by providing resources for fire-prone regions to amplify local knowledge and leadership to solve their unique challenges.
“RFFC shows how relatively small investments in a regional leadership can improve a community’s resilience to wildfire,” said Department of Conservation Director David Shabazian.
“Our partners are seeing this funding and their work multiply, leveraging other state, federal, and private funds to support landscape-level projects. We are excited to see the progress these grants are accelerating as they strengthen strategies that will make communities more adaptative and resilient.”
Funding will allow grantees to dramatically expand existing efforts and pilot projects, including work that explores the beneficial use of fire through prescribed burns and test new methods of biomass utilization.
“RFFC funding is unique in how flexible it is,” said Shabazian. “It can enable partners to organize themselves, identify their priorities, build capacity, and optimize efforts to achieve more substantial results on the ground.”
Project outcomes will vary based on region and partnerships. For example, the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego Indigenous Fuels Crew program will use the funding to support local tribal members as they lead land stewardship and fire management efforts in San Diego. One-Tam, a partnership of local, state, and federal land managing agencies in the vicinity of Mt. Tamalpais, will use the funding to create a habitat restoration and fire protection plan for all of Marin County.
Grantees often award subgrants within their region, enabling program funding to meet very specific needs of hyperlocal areas. See examples of how partners such as North Coast Resource Partnership (YouTube) and East Bay Regional Park District (YouTube) are using RFFC funding to tackle their unique regional requirements.
The total awarded this year is $72.6 million. Below is the full list of awarded organizations:
The Inner Coast Collaborative
North Sacramento Valley Coalition
Indigenous Stewardship Network
As partners continue their work on the ground, the RFFC program will move into the next year funding and program guidelines, aiming to award another $20 million in 2024.