MENDOCINO Co, CA, 4/4/23 — The City of Ukiah and the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians were Mendocino County’s two recipients of Community Wildfire Defense Grants in the $78 million first round of state funding. Review panels of tribal representatives and state forest agencies prioritized at-risk communities that have been impacted by a severe disaster, have a high potential for wildfire hazard, and are classified as low-income.
“All projects include at least two of the primary selection criteria mandated in the legislation,” Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “And in all cases, these projects are taking critical steps to protect homes, property, businesses and people’s lives from catastrophic wildfires.”
The Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians received $959,648 to hire a fire mitigation specialist to lead and coordinate an ambitious community fire defense project. The work will include a tribal evacuation plan, outreach, and education, with the ultimate goal of making local lands more resilient to fire-related disturbances, creating a fire- adapted community to withstand a wildfire without loss of life and property, and making safe risk-based wildfire management decisions.
The City of Ukiah applied for funding for a large hazardous fuels reduction project throughout the Ukiah Valley area, with the goal of increasing fire resiliency in the area over the next five years. Ukiah received a $7,214,766 grant for the 200- acres project, in which an 11- person crew will conduct 200 defensible space inspections, maintain seven current fuel breaks in shaded and non-shaded areas, perform 125 defensible space projects, conduct prescribed burns in appropriate areas to restore fire- adapted ecosystems, conduct five project assessments, and engage the relevant impacted communities.
“Mendocino County has suffered devastating losses from wildfires in recent years,” said Ukiah Valley Fire Authority Chief Doug Hutchison. “While wildfire will never be completely avoidable, activities like those paid for by this grant can significantly reduce the spread of a fire and decrease the damage to people, property, and the environment. Our community will be safer because of this project.”
The work is also connected to goals from the Climate Resolution passed by the City of Ukiah last summer, to “protect from dangerous emissions by preventing fires.” Ukiah hopes to not only further this mission in the city, but in greater Mendocino County.
Note: Kate Fishman covers the environment & natural resources for The Mendocino Voice in partnership with a Report For America. Her position is funded by the Community Foundation of Mendocino, Report for America, & our readers. You can support Fishman’s work with a tax-deductible donation here or by emailing [email protected]. Contact her at KFishman@mendovoice.com or at (707) 234-7735. The Voice maintains editorial control and independence.