Arizona wildfire protection plans get $7 million in support from USDA Forest Service

May 21, 2024, 4:15 AM

Arizona wildfire protection plans get $7M in federal support...

Millions of dollars in grants will protect Arizona communities from wildfire, officials said. (File photos: Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management)

(File photos: Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management)

PHOENIX — National environment authorities are investing millions of dollars into fighting wildfires across Arizona.

In fact, the USDA Forest Service earmarked nearly $7 million for the cause, according to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management (DFFM).

The DFFM announcement from last week said the money will flow through Community Wildfire Defense Grants.

“The $7 million supports six projects, including a large-scale prevention project in Pine Lake and the Hualapais in Mohave County,” DFFM spokesperson Tiffany Davila said in a press release.

Said project will take up more than half of that total sum. Authorities will use the cash to bolster a “significant fuels reduction project” for the area.

However, the Pine Lake community in Mohave County is one of many groups benefitting from the Community Wildfire Defense Grants.

The cash will also support a fuels reduction project in Patagonia, along with updates to existing resiliency plans for the greater Flagstaff area and Cochise County.

Additionally, the grants will help develop new Community Wildfire Protection Plans — or CWPP — for Santa Cruz and Coconino Counties.

Director for the Santa Cruz County Office of Emergency Management Sobeira Castro said these grants provide invaluable support.

“The CWPP serves as a comprehensive blueprint for wildfire mitigation and preparedness tailored to our area’s specific needs and characteristics,” Castro said in the news release. “By identifying high-risk areas, implementing proactive measures, and fostering collaboration among stakeholders, the CWPP plays a pivotal role in enhancing the resilience of our community to wildfire incidents.”

How do these Community Wildfire Protection Plans work?

These master plans are designed to help at-risk communities and Tribes project residents from wildfire. They:

  • Reduce wildfire risk
  • Build fire-adapted communities
  • Prioritize the reduction of hazardous fuels
  • Promote fire training to ensure collaboration

Essentially, authorities want to ensure these communities that are vulnerable to wildfires will be able to coordinate between local fire department, the state and federal land management agencies during times of crisis.

Castro said that the grant enabling the development of new CWPPs for Santa Cruz County will help generations in the future.

“By prioritizing prevention and preparedness, the CWPP helps reduce the economic and ecological impacts of wildfires, preserving the vibrancy and vitality of our community for generations to come,” Castro said.

“The Santa Cruz County Office of Emergency Management remains dedicated to implementing the strategies outlined in the CWPP and continuing our collaboration with local authorities, residents, and stakeholders to ensure our community’s ongoing safety and well-being.”

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Arizona wildfire protection plans get $7 million in support from USDA Forest Service