Wildfire protection grant deadline Friday, May 16 | SummitDaily.com

Wildfire protection grant deadline Friday, May 16

Special to the Daily

Dan Schroder has $300,000 to give to local property owners and homeowners associations that want to protect their homes from wildfire.

Schroder, the Summit County CSU Extension director, runs the hazardous fuels reduction grant program, which offers grants funded through a tax measure voters approved in 2008. Grant pre-applications are due Friday, May 16.

Schroder said the county wants wildfire protection to be community driven instead of government mandated. Grants are not for individual parcels but for whole neighborhoods, large properties and small parcels next to one another.

Schroder said getting neighbors to work together can be hard, especially when many don’t live in Summit full time.

Grants can be used to target three zones around homes.

In the first zone, from the eves of houses out 30 feet, the county recommends removal of all flammable vegetation as heat from a fire that close will ignite a house, Schroder said.

“It can still look beautiful,” he said, with landscaping that doesn’t burn well, like Aspen trees.

In the other two zones farther from homes, residents can space out landscaping and thin vegetation.

After committee approval, Schroder will give out full applications, due Friday, May 30. Property owners and groups must submit proposals with three bids, hire and oversee contractors and submit receipts to the county.

Grant money will pay back 50 percent of the cost, and some of that reimbursement will be withheld to make sure a weed management plan is enacted. Invasive plants can spread when soil is overturned, he said, and officials don’t want to trade one environmental problem for another.

In 2011, the grant program, which receives 10 to 15 applications a year, changed from targeting just vegetation to including other community actions that make evacuation or firefighting easier. Money was used to fix roads in the Ptarmigan area of Silverthorne and install hydrants in the Highlands neighborhood in Breckenridge and the Acorn Creek area.

Contact Dan Schroder at (970) 668-4140 or dan.schroder@colostate.edu.

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