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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on May 15th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 11 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 20, Issue 11

Cal Fire awards Santa Barbara County grant funding for fire prevention

By ZAC EZZONE

Next year, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department will begin removing shrubs and trees in the Lompoc Valley to reduce fuel for wildfires.

This effort is part of a four-year project estimated to cost $2.5 million, most of which will be covered by grant funding from Cal Fire. The state agency is covering $2.2 million, and the county is taking care of the rest.

The grant is part of more than $43 million in funding that Cal Fire announced it’s awarding to 66 local fire prevention projects throughout the state for fiscal year 2018-19, according to a statement Cal Fire released on April 16.

“As our crews are busy right now performing fuel reduction work and conducting defensible space inspections, funding these projects will add significant fire prevention efforts to combat California’s severe fire risk,” Cal Fire Director Thomas Porter said in a statement.

Of the $43 million in funding the state agency has awarded, $33 million comes from the California Climate Investments Program and $10 million comes from the Community Wildfire Prevention Program. The former is a statewide program that funds projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve public health and the environment in disadvantaged communities.

The boundary for the Lompoc Valley Fuel Reduction Project covers about 49,600 acres near Vandenberg Village and Mission Hills. The project encompasses fuel reduction along 15.1 miles of road; 678 acres of fuel reduction within La Purisima Mission State Park, including the removal of 150 dead trees; and fuel treatment on 18 acres between Vandenberg Air Force Base and Buellton.

According to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, reducing the fuel in this area will protect communities within the project boundary, which encompasses about 14,300 homes.

“The activities in this project protect the surrounding wildlife, watersheds, and the environment; while also promoting age class diversity and resiliency for the local vegetation,” reads a statement from the county fire department.

The Lompoc Valley has experienced several wildfires in recent years. In 2016, the Canyon Fire burned 12,472 acres in the area, and in 2017, the Rucker Fire threatened 100 homes.

The announcement of this grant funding comes months after the Camp Fire devastated Northern California and became the most destructive fire in the state’s history. In response to the increasing frequency and intensity of fires throughout the state, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order earlier this year directing Cal Fire to compile a list of recommended actions to prevent wildfires.

In response, Cal Fire released a report in April with a list of 35 projects that could reduce fuel for wildfires. Although the report doesn’t include the Lompoc Valley project, it details the importance of fire prevention efforts throughout the state.

“Climate change, an epidemic of dead and dying trees, and the proliferation of new homes in the wildland-urban interface magnify the threat and place substantially more people and property at risk than in preceding decades,” the report states.




Weekly Poll
How should Lompoc respond to the lawsuit claiming its ordinance restricting where registered sex offenders can live is unconstitutional?

The city should fight the lawsuit in court.
The city needs to repeal the ordinance and settle the lawsuit.
Most cities in California have already repealed similar ordinances.
Keep the ordinance. Residents need it for public safety.

| Poll Results