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National Park Service Grants Assist Communities with Wildfire Protection for 2008

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Date: April 9, 2008
Contact: Jennifer Chapman, 415-464-5133

The National Park Service has approved funding for two projects in Marin County that support the efforts of homeowners and local fire departments to improve fire safety in the wildland-urban interface. These projects were 2 out of 122 selected by the California Fire Safe Council through the Fire Safe California Grants Clearinghouse. The projects funded in Marin this year build on past success and will provide $107,473 to communities adjacent to Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area. National Park Service Community Assistance Grants are part of a National Fire Plan initiative which began in 2001.

The Marin Conservation Corps received $53,400 for the Marinview Fire Mitigation Project, which continues fuel reduction that is currently in progress from a 2007 grant of $48,500. The work funded this year will create an additional 11 acres of defensible space by thinning and removing dense vegetation adjacent to the Marinview subdivision in Tamalpais Valley. Marinview includes approximately 250 homes and borders public lands belonging to Marin County Parks and Open Space, the Tamalpais Valley Community Service District, and the National Park Service.

Fire Safe Marin, Inc. was awarded $54,073 for Olema-Nicasio-Muir Beach Chipper Days, expanding a program that has received $122,000 in federal funding since 2001. This project provides brush disposal sites free of charge to residents during weekend days throughout the summer. The debris is then processed with chippers and a tub grinder. The goal is to encourage homeowners to create defensible space by removing dry, dead, or dense vegetation from around structures on their property. The program began with a site in Olema, then added a site in Nicasio, and this year will also include a site in Muir Beach. These brush drop off sites are also intended to serve residents in Point Reyes Station, Inverness, Lagunitas, Forest Knolls, San Geronimo and Woodacre.

California’s defensible space requirements of 100 feet around structures, includes 30 feet of clearance followed by another 70 feet of thinning. However, this only extends to the property line when it is less than 100 feet from the structure. Because many homes in Marin are closely built, neighbors are encouraged to work together for mutual fire safety.

This year, Marin County received over half of the funding allocated to National Park Service Community Assistance Grants in California. The other grants went to the Western Shasta Resource Conservation District ($16,817) for the Benson Drive Fuel Reduction Project near Whiskeytown National Recreation Area; and to the Malibu West Fire Safe Council ($82,860) for the Malibu West Clear, Gear, and Volunteer Project near Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

To be eligible for funding, community assistance projects must be identified in a Community Wildfire Protection Plan and must be requested through the Fire Safe Grants California Clearinghouse at www.grants.firesafecouncil.org. The deadline for a funding cycle is typically in February.

"It is great to see homeowners getting involved in protecting their own homes," said Roger Wong, Fire Management Officer for the National Parks in the San Francisco Bay Area. "We have exceptional fire suppression resources in California, but in extreme weather conditions, it will never be enough. Personal choices about landscaping and building materials can and will make a difference."

The Fire Mangement Program for the Bay Area Network of National Parks includes Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area in Marin County; John Muir National Historic Site and Eugene O’Neil National Historic Site in Contra Costa County; and Pinnacles National Monument in San Benito and Monterey Counties.

-NPS-

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