Wildfire Council receives $80K grant for training, education | SkyHiNews.com

Wildfire Council receives $80K grant for training, education

Grand County’s Wildfire Council has been awarded an $80,000 grant from the Bureau of Land Management to apply towards local fire prevention efforts over the next two years.

“We really wanted to have an overarching theme of what we are trying to do,” explained Schelly Olson, Chairwoman of the Wildfire Council. “We didn’t want to have a specific project. We want to build a fire-adapted Grand County.”

As such, the Wildfire Council will be applying the $80,000 to a host of local fire prevention and awareness projects ranging from public education campaigns such as Firewise USA and Ready-Set-Go, to the local Hazardous Fuels Reeducation Program.

“We are going to do what we always start out doing, a public education piece,” Olson said. “We will never get rid of the roots of education. We added in improved firefighter training capacity and sustainability through improved training methods.”

The grant application from the Wildfire Council lists four specific areas of focus for the grant funds including educational programs, training and fuel reduction. The funds will also be used to “perform community wildfire risk assessments,” staed the grant application.

Under the risk assessment a wildfire research team will work to identify individual properties and communities that represent danger areas in the event of future wildfires.

“The rapid assessment serves as an indicator of relative risk of parcels within a community rather than an absolutely measure of risk,” states the grant application. “Following the rapid assessment, social surveys are administered to the residents of the assessed parcels to investigate homeowners’ perceptions of wildfire risk, risk mitigation behaviors, and responses to incentives to mitigate risk.”

The grant funds, which are dispersed through the federal government’s payment system, have been set aside for specific future funding requests from the Wildfire Council. According to Olson, the BLM grant is a reimbursement-only grant that will only cover costs already incurred by the Wildfire Council.

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