PG&E, Mattole Restoration Council Help Residents Decrease their Risk of Loss from Wildfire
This is a press release from Pacific Gas and Electric Company:
EUREKA, Calif.— In an effort to help prevent wildfires and protect communities, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is joining forces with local Fire Safe Councils to enhance the safety and preparedness of local communities. PG&E is providing $2 million to fund local Fire Safe Council projects to reduce the threat of wildfires and help keep communities safe.
One of the organizations is the Mattole Restoration Council in Humboldt County, which works closely with the Lower Mattole Fire Safe Council. It assists residents in need with reducing fuels in their defensible space zones. PG&E granted the organization $25,000 to assist low income and senior citizens with fuel reduction work to decrease the risk of loss from wildfire on their property. The project, called Mattole Chipper Days II, often includes the use of a chipper to dispose of small trees and brush from around homes for free.
“Our rural communities are isolated and happen to have one of the highest amounts of precipitation in the country annually – Honeydew holds the record for that. A lot of precipitation in the winter and spring means a lot of vegetative growth in the late spring. Then the long, dry summers create a situation every year where people need to reduce the now dry, dense fuels to lessen their risk of loss from wildfire,” said Ali Freedlund, Director for the Working Lands Human Communities Program at the Mattole Restoration Council.
Since 2014, and including this year, PG&E will have provided $13 million to local Fire Safe Councils and 501(c)(3) organizations to fund more than 200 projects in Northern and Central California. Projects have included fuel reduction, shaded fuel breaks, emergency access and wood-chipping programs.
“Years of drought, extreme heat and 129 million dead trees are creating a ‘new normal’ in our state and we must continue to adapt to these challenges. We appreciate our continuing partnership with local Fire Safe Councils to complete this important safety work. These projects create fuel breaks to protect communities, clear vegetation from evacuation routes, and help underserved customers create critical defensible space to protect their homes from fire,” said Kevin Dasso, PG&E vice president of Electric Asset Management.
“PG&E has allowed us to be able to go and help people who otherwise can’t do it themselves and it’s a benefit to the whole community – from one resident to the next. Since May we have treated 9 residences in their defensible space zones. All these residents are extremely grateful for the work.” added Freedlund.
This year, PG&E is providing funding to local councils and nonprofits to complete approximately 30 projects in 24 counties. Projects must be completed by October of this year.