COLLEGE STATION — Eligible communities in Texas can apply now for a federal grant administered by Texas A&M Forest Service to plan for and mitigate against risks created by wildfire.
The Community Wildfire Defense Grant offers financial assistance to at-risk local communities for the development of Community Wildfire Protection Plans and associated mitigation projects. The program is authorized in Public Law 117-58, commonly referred to as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“The Community Wildfire Defense Grant offers high-risk communities a way to improve their mitigation planning efforts,” said Alex Bregenzer, Texas A&M Forest Service Community Wildfire Protection Plans Program Coordinator. “These types of mitigation efforts are reducing wildfire risk across the state at a time when human-caused wildfires are an ever-present threat to our communities.”
There are two primary objectives for which the grant will provide funding: the development and revision of Community Wildfire Protection Plans, and the implementation of projects described in a Community Wildfire Protection Plan that is less than 10 years old. The Act prioritizes at-risk communities that are in an area identified as having high or very high wildfire hazard potential, are low-income, and/or have been impacted by a severe disaster.
“Our personnel at Texas A&M Forest Service are taking a leadership role in the administration of the Community Wildfire Defense Grant in Texas,” said Bruce Woods, Department Head of Mitigation and Prevention. “We stand ready to offer technical support and subject matter expertise to communities throughout the grant application process.”
Entities eligible to apply for funding under the Community Wildfire Defense Grant are:
a. Local governments representing communities in an area with a risk of wildfires,
b. Native American tribes,
c. Non-profit organizations including homeowner associations that assist such communities,
d. State forestry agencies.
Eligible applicants may apply for grant funding for a project proposal to be conducted on local government, state government, tribal, homeowner association and privately owned lands, provided the project proposal directly reduces wildfire risk to a community.
There is no minimum federal funding limit for projects under the Community Wildfire Defense Grant. The maximum amount of funding awarded to any one community or tribe via this competitive grant is:
• $250,000 for the creation or updating of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan,
• $10 million for projects described within a Community Wildfire Protection Plan less than 10 years old.
Cost-share is required for all applications funded under the Community Wildfire Defense Grant Program. The cost-share rates for this program are:
• not less than 10 percent for development or revision of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan; and
• not less than 25 percent for project implementation as described in a Community Wildfire Protection Plan that is not more than 10 years old.
Potential applicants are recommended to attend the Community Wildfire Defense Grant Webinar for Southern states on August 9 at 9 a.m. CST. Instructions for registration can be found at https://bit.ly/3SyhyTh.
The closing date for applications is October 7, 2022.
Learn more about the Community Wildfire Defense Grant: fs.usda.gov/managing-land/fire/grants.
Learn more about your community’s wildfire risk: https://texaswildfirerisk.com.