The Colorado Department of Natural Resources this week announced it is accepting applications for a second round of awards under the Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant Program.
The grant is designed to provide funding for projects that reduce the risk of wildfire in areas where human development and forested lands overlap — areas often called the wildland-urban interface, according to a DNR news release. There is $5.2 million during the current grant period.
The program, created under Senate Bill 13-269 and passed last year by the Colorado General Assembly, is focused on projects that reduce the risk of damage to property, infrastructure and water supplies, and those that limit the likelihood of wildfires spreading into populated areas. Funds will be directed to non-federal lands within Colorado.
The first round of grants, totaling just over $4 million, was awarded to 25 recipients in 16 counties in August.
Eligible applicants include community groups, local governments, utilities, state agencies and nonprofit groups. Applicants must contribute 100 percent matching funds, which can include in-kind resources, for a 50-50 grant-to-match ratio.
Applicants must also identify plans to make use of the woody material resulting from the projects. Those plans can include using the materials for biomass energy or traditional forest products, or both.
Examples of projects considered for funding include:
• Creation of defensible space around homes and structures, based on Colorado State Forest Service guidelines
• Construction of fuel breaks, based on CSFS guidelines
• Fuels reduction beyond defensible space, designed to protect water supplies and reduce fire intensity
Up to 25 percent of total grant funds may be used for the purchase of equipment that increases current and future capacity for hazardous fuels reduction. Applicants interested in using funds for these purposes can use a specific application form for capacity building.
All applicants must coordinate proposed projects with appropriate county officials to ensure consistency with county-level wildfire risk reduction planning. The deadline to receive proposals is March 13, and awards are anticipated in early May.
A more detailed overview of the grant program and its requirements and limitations, as well as the grant applications, instructions and other materials, is available online at http://dnr.state.co.us/WRRG.