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News / Northwest

USDA grants aim to help plan and prevent wildfires

By Columbia Basin Herald
Published: March 22, 2023, 7:45am

The U.S. Forest Service announced it is giving nearly $25 million in grants to help plan for and prevent wildfires across Washington, according to a USFS press release.

The grants are part of the Forest Service’s Community Wildfire Defense Grant program and are being given to 14 organizations from Spokane to South Bend in Pacific County, the press release stated. However, more than $11 million — including a $10 million grant — is going to three organizations in Kittitas County, including Kittitas County Resilient Landscapes.

“Projects were selected using a collaborative, inclusive process that engaged tribes and state forestry agencies,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore in the press release. “In all cases, these projects are taking critical steps to protect homes, property, businesses and people’s lives from catastrophic wildfires.”

The $3.5 billion program, created under the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by Congress in late 2021, provides funding to state, local and tribal governments in areas affected by seasonal wildfires to reduce the risk of future conflagrations or damage from wildfires, the press release said.

“America’s forests, especially here in the West, are in a state of fire emergency,” Robert Sanchez, Deputy Regional Forester for the Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service, said in the press release. “Wildfires do not recognize boundaries or management jurisdictions. As we continue our wildfire risk reduction work on National Forest lands, these Community Wildfire Defense Grants directly support our overall priority of helping reduce wildfire risk to communities by investing in work across tribal, state, and private lands.”

For more information on the CWDG program, or for information on funded projects, visit the program’s website at www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/fire/grants/funded-proposals.