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CDF help available with brush clearing

When Caroline Barbe heard there was state money available to help cover the costs of clearing her 10-acre property, applying for the help was a “no-brainer.”

She talked with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection for months about how she and her neighbors, who are all a part of the Scotts Flat Pines Road Association near Scotts Flat Lake, could make their homes and properties more fire safe.

At the beginning of the year, a CDF forester told her about the California Forest Improvement Plan, which reimburses people for up to 75 percent, and in some cases up to 90 percent, of the money they spend to clear brush – a cost that can be up to $1,000 per acre.



The road association then met with Kevin Whitlock of CDF, who laid out the guidelines for the state money.

“Everybody in the group got really excited. It’s a no-brainer once you learn what the program is about,” Barbe said.




To qualify, a landowner must have a minimum of 20 acres and not more than 5,000 acres of forested land. Property owners can band together, however, which is what the residents are doing in Scotts Flat Pines, where the average parcel size is 10 acres.

They then hired an independent forester to assess the properties to be cleared and work with the specific needs of the landowners.

A contractor will be hired to do the work, and the Road Association will need to keep all the invoices, which they will submit once the project is finished.

This is not the first year this program has existed, but it is the first year there has been so much money for it – a result of the state’s Proposition 40.

“It has been around since 1978, but this Prop 40 for funding is unprecedented. We’ve never seen this kind of funding,” Whitlock said.

Usually, there are only a few million dollars available for all 15 eligible counties, but this year they have $39 million to split.

Projects will be approved until the money runs out. “Right now it is on a first-come, first-served basis,” Whitlock said.

This money will also help people meet the standards that will be required when the county begins implementing its lengthy and comprehensive Fire Plan, which lays out guidelines for wildfire prevention such as brush clearing, Whitlock said.

“Why not go for it, instead of wait until when you are forced to do it by the state or county?” Barbe said. “To do this will help us live better with the threat (of fire danger).”

How to apply

• Call CDF forester Kevin Whitlock at 265-2661.

• Download an application by visiting http://www.fire.ca.gov/ResourceManagement/CFIP.asp at the CDF Web site.


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