NPS Grants Funds to Reduce Fire Hazards for Fiscal Year 2002
Contact: Jennifer Chapman, 415-464-5133
The National Park Service announced today that $653,000 in federal funds has been granted to local communities this fiscal year for wildland fire protection in Marin County. The funding will help communities adjacent to Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area reduce fire danger in the wildland-urban interface.
The projects funded for Fiscal Year 2002 will take place in nine communities including Inverness, Inverness Park, Olema, Bolinas, Muir Beach, Marin City, Marinview, Sausalito, and Mill Valley. The funding will be administered by FireSafe Marin for local fire departments and communities that identified projects to reduce hazardous fuels, help residents create defensible space, provide emergency access for fire vehicles, and increase local fire response capacity.
The majority of the wildland-urban interface projects funded include the cutting and disposal of hazardous fuels. The work includes removing of fire prone-vegetation, developing fuel breaks, reducing vegetation around structures and roads, and creating safe emergency access in the event of a wildfire. Chipping programs funded in Inverness and Muir Beach provide residents a means of disposing of brush removed from around homes to create defensible space.
Administration of the projects is accomplished through a cooperative agreement between the National Park Service and FireSafe Marin that has been dedicated to reducing wildland fire hazards and improving fire safety in Marin County for the last ten years.
The National Park Service and FireSafe Marin urge citizens to comply with California state law which requires a minimum of 30 feet vegetation clearance around structures, 5 feet on each side of driveways, 10 feet on each side of roads, and 13 feet above roads. Up to 100 feet or more of clearance may be required around homes depending on the slope. These measures help prevent losses of life and property, and ensure safe access and egress during a wildfire.
Funding for these projects was authorized by Congress as part of the National Wildland-Urban Interface Initiative which was legislated to assist communities with wildland fire protection. Increased interest in funding for hazard reduction in the Wildland Urban Interface is a response to the severity of the 2000 Fire Season, which by last September had resulted in a total of 6.5 million acres burned, more than two times the 10-year national average. The intensity of last year’s fires was due to two primary factors: severe drought accompanied by a series of lightning strikes and windy conditions; and the long-term effects of more than 100 years of aggressive wildfire suppression, leading to an unnatural build up of brush and over-crowded forests. The intensity of this summer’s fire hazard, as demonstrated by the fires now burning throughout the west, indicate the long-term need for additional fire prevention and protection.
Together with last year’s allocation of $769,000, the total funding provided to Marin communities through the National Park Service and FireSafe Marin Fire Prevention Partnership, is close to $1.5 million dollars. “These projects are part of a comprehensive strategy that will eventually treat interface lands from Sausalito to Inverness,” stated Marin County Fire Chief, Ken Massucco.