Heather Willard / NewsBreak Denver / March , 2023
(Douglas County, Colo.) High winds, dry vegetation, and low precipitation can increase wildfire conditions, and the Douglas County government wants homeowners to reduce their fire risk through a new cost-sharing program.
Wildfires are the top natural hazard in Douglas County, and the Wildfire Mitigation Cost-Sharing Program will help residents and communities fund mitigation efforts on private land through the county’s American Rescue Plan Act allocation. The program aims to speed private wildfire mitigation efforts by overcoming financial barriers and building community capacity.
Private property owners who commit to mitigation efforts through a specific project can partner with Douglas County to split costs: 75% by the county and 25% by the homeowner.
Project funds will be awarded through an application process focusing on creating defensible space, reducing vegetation densities, and disrupting fuel continuity in and around communities in the wildland-urban interface — where manicured lawns touch natural lands. Project proposals must reflect accepted science-based mitigation best practices for the present vegetation types.
The county’s financial support offers residents a chance to bolster their own safety and that of their neighbors. It also provides emergency responders more time to respond and a safer environment to suppress the fire.
Funds will be distributed following the completion of the project, certification of all work by Douglas County wildfire mitigation staff, and proof of 25% payment. Projects are capped at a maximum of $100,000 total project cost and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The goal is to create more defensible space in Douglas County, which acts as a buffer between a structure and the surrounding wildland vegetation. The goal is to create space to slow or stop the spread of wildfire before it can reach structures. With Colorado's warming climate and lack of precipitation, defensible spaces are increasingly important.
Applications are available on the county’s webpage.
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