Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Marcus Huff
Staff Writer 

County hearing to address Firewise grant

WORLAND – Wildland fire mitigation will be a topic of discussion at the regular county commission meeting on Tuesday, when a public hearing will be held to lay out the parameters of a 2017 Firewise grant, obtained by the county.

 

November 4, 2017



WORLAND – Wildland fire mitigation will be a topic of discussion at the regular county commission meeting on Tuesday, when a public hearing will be held to lay out the parameters of a 2017 Firewise grant, obtained by the county.

A federal program to aid county fire wardens with wildland fire mitigation, the grant also provides educational resources for homeowners in other than urban areas, easily threatened by wildland fires.

“We got the first Firewise grant in 2012, and it expired in September of this year,” explained Washakie County Fire Warden Chris Kocher. “With it, we were able to work on mitigation plans for folks in wildfire areas. We were fortunate to be awarded it again.”

County Commissioner Aaron Anderson explains that the grant enables the county to save money on the front end, when faced with the possibility of a heavy fire danger to homes off the grid.

“In essence, it gives us the resources to go in and clear out timber and brush that could threaten properties in timber areas,” said Anderson.

According to Firewise.org, the governing agency, the program is designed to implement the National Fire Plan and assist communities at risk from catastrophic wildland fires. The program provides grants, technical assistance and training for community programs that develop local capability, including:

•Assessment and planning, mitigation activities, and community and homeowner education and action; Hazardous fuels reduction activities, including the training, monitoring or maintenance associated with such hazardous fuels reduction activities, on federal land, or on adjacent nonfederal land for activities that mitigate the threat of catastrophic fire to communities and natural resources in high risk areas; Enhancement of knowledge and fire protection capability of rural fire districts through assistance in education and training, protective clothing and equipment purchase, and mitigation methods on a cost share basis.

“Firewise has been a great tool and was a real asset during the [2016] Hatchery Fire,” said Kocher. “The county also benefits from the outreach opportunities, educating residents with homes directly impacted by large growth and vegetation on their property.”

Kocher encourages residents to visit the Big Horn Basin Firewise Facebook page, and learn more about what they can do for fire mitigation.

“Something as simple as mowing down the grasses at the perimeter of your property can mean the difference between having a home and not having a home after a major fire event,” said Kocher.

The public hearing will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday in the County Commission chambers in the Washakie County Courthouse. All meetings are open to the public and comments are encouraged.

 
 

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