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Contact: Jennifer Chapman, 415-464-5133
The National Park Service announced today that another series of community partnership projects will be funded this fiscal year to achieve greater wildland fire protection in communities adjacent to Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The 13 projects funded for Fiscal Year 2003 include the construction of fuelbreaks to protect homes in Mill Valley, Kent Woodlands, Muir Meadows, Inverness Park, and Stinson Beach; hazardous fuel removal in Bolinas; roadside vegetation treatments to improve emergency access in Inverness and Inverness Park; neighborhood chipping programs in Muir Beach, Inverness and Inverness Park, to support homeowners’ efforts to create defensible space around homes; and a fire prevention education program in Stinson Beach.
The total funding for this year’s projects is $586,325. This federal funding is provided through the Wildland-Urban Interface Initiative in conjunction with the National Fire Plan. Combined with the two previous years, over $2 million dollars has been awarded for wildland fire protection to communities located near national parklands in Marin County.
All of the projects funded are concerned with removing vegetation which poses a fire danger to communities. Typically this includes brush clearance and trimming branches, sometimes removing trees, and generally reducing hazardous fuels in strategic locations. Contracts for the work completed through this program have been awarded to local businesses and conservation organizations.
Administration of the projects is accomplished through a cooperative agreement between the National Park Service and FIRESafe MARIN, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing wildland fire hazards and improving fire safety in Marin County. The projects funded this year were proposed by Bolinas Fire Protection District, Inverness Public Utility District, Inverness Ridge Association, Marin County Fire Department, Southern Marin Fire District, Stinson Beach Volunteer Fire Department, and Muir Beach Community Services District.
Regarding the recent funding allocation, Ken Massucco, Chief of Marin County Fire Department says, “It’s really great that this work can continue. Funding from similar state programs like the CALFire program has been cut. Meanwhile, we still have a high level of hazardous fuels in Marin County.”
Don Neubacher, Superintendent of Point Reyes National Seashore, stated that, “These funds are critical to have a systematic approach to fire prevention and protection in Marin County.”
Continued funding for the wildland-urban interface program this fiscal year is in part due to last summer’s exceptionally long fire season, which demonstrated the critical need for fuel treatments in the wildland-urban interface. Last year, over 3,000 structures were lost to wildland fire throughout the United States, including over 1,400 homes.