$7.2 Million in Grant Funds Available to Reduce Wildfire Risk

What remains of a mobile home park is pictured following the 2018 Camp Fire. CSU engineers have developed a model that was able to predict which buildings burned and which survived the Camp Fire with as high as 86% accuracy. Credit: Hussam Mahmoud

The Colorado State Forest Service is now accepting applications for the Forest Restoration and Wildfire Risk Mitigation Grant Program. Community groups, homeowner associations, utilities, and non-profit organizations are just some groups eligible to apply for grants from the $7.2 million funding pool. Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. Oct. 18, 2023, and applicants can request help from their local CSFS Field Office.

“Colorado communities in the wildland-urban interface face the threat of wildfire year-round, and we must prepare for the inevitable,” said Matt McCombs, state forester and director of the CSFS. “The good news is we know mitigation works, and with the $7.2 million available under the FRWRM program during this round, we can continue the march to reduce fuel loads and mitigate wildfire risk that in the aggregate, community by community, benefits all Coloradans through healthier forests across the state.”

McCombs continued, “I urge individual residents, towns, HOAs, and neighborhood groups to take advantage of this opportunity to make their communities safer, healthier, and more resilient.”

The FRWRM Grant Program helps fund projects that strategically reduce wildfire risk to property, infrastructure, and water supplies and promote forest health through scientifically based forestry practices. The competitive grant program reduces risk to people and property in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) and supports long-term ecological restoration. The projects can be on private, state, county, or municipal forest lands.

There is a fund-matching component of the grant awards. The state can fund up to 50 or 75 percent of the cost of each awarded project; grant recipients must match at least 50 or 25 percent of the total project cost. This can be through cash or in-kind contributions. The matching amount depends on whether the project location falls within an area of “fewer economic resources,” as identified in the Colorado Forest Atlas.

Applicants must coordinate proposed projects with relevant county officials to ensure consistency with county-level wildfire risk reduction planning. Follow-up monitoring is a necessary component of this grant program to help demonstrate the relative efficacy of various treatments and the utility of grant resources. The CSFS will work with successful project applicants to conduct project monitoring and site visits to assess the effectiveness and completion of projects.

Additional emphasis will be given to projects that have some specific features:

  • Identified through a community-based collaborative process, such as a Community Wildfire Protection Plan
  • Implemented strategically across land ownership boundaries
  • Conducted within a priority area identified in the 2020 Colorado Forest Action Plan
  • Use the labor of an accredited Colorado Youth or Veterans Corps organization
  • Include forest treatments that result in the protection of water supplies

Applications must be submitted electronically to local CSFS Field Offices by 5 p.m. MDT, Oct. 18, 2023. A technical advisory panel convened by the CSFS will review project applications and make funding recommendations. Funding will be awarded by April 1, 2024.

Applications and additional information about the FRWRM Grant Program are available at CSFS Field Offices and on the CSFS website.

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