Federal and state grants are available for individual property owners and community groups for fuels-reduction projects, and virtually all of the Methow Valley and Okanogan County are in areas deemed a high-enough wildfire risk to be eligible.
This year, the National Fire Plan Wildland-Urban Interface grant program does not require a match from the property owner, but the property must be adjacent to a U.S. Forest Service fuels-reduction project, such as thinning and slash disposal or prescribed burning.
Washington state also has money available for Okanogan County, some of which has not been awarded in recent years. Those funds require a 50/50 match from the property owner, but are less restrictive as to location and often more appropriate for an individual or smaller group of property owners, according to Steve Harris, landowner assistance manager for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The landowner match can be in the form of reimbursement for work done to thin a forest, for example, which can make these arrangements more feasible, said Harris.
Applicants need to describe the condition of their property and the goals of their project to reduce fuels.
Harris encourages any property owners interested in applying for funding, whether state or federal, to contact him to discuss options. He can help identify areas for fuels treatments and assist in writing grants. Applications are due Feb. 28.
For more information, contact Harris at (509) 685-2712.