Fuel-reduction assistance grants are available from the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Medford Unit. A grant pays up to $400 per acre for fuel reduction with a primary focus on a home site’s defensible space, a fuel break along the driveway, and then additional acreage on the property.
Defensible space around a home provides firefighters with a reduced risk zone in which they may safely and effectively protect a home against damage or destruction caused by a wildfire. Reducing fuel along a driveway improves access for emergency vehicles.
In general, guidelines for getting a fuel-reduction assistance grant are as follows:
• A fuel reduction plan must be developed before the project begins.
• Both the ODF inspector and the landowner must agree to the plan.
• A completion date is established as part of the plan.
• A grant payment cannot be made for fuel-reduction projects already completed.
Also, by meeting the requirements of a fuel-reduction grant, a home will also satisfy the requirements of the Oregon Forestland-Urban Interface Fire Protection Act (SB 360). Payment will be made upon satisfactory completion of the project. If the project has been completed according to the plan, both the ODF inspector and the landowner must sign a project completion form.
Completion of a fuel reduction grant project will greatly increase the chance of a home surviving a wildfire, but it is not a guarantee. Maintaining the fuel-reduction area is important. Periodic mowing of dry grasses, raking of dry needles and leaves, and removing dead vegetation will help to keep a fire from igniting in and spreading through a fuel break area.
In Jackson County, call 541-664-3328 to schedule a free fuel-reduction inspection and to start the grant process.
Grants are available whenever fire season is not in effect.