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Wildlife Mitigation grant allocated for Hualapai Mountain area

KINGMAN – A $3.7-million Community Wildfire Defense grant is being allocated for wildfire mitigation at Pine Lake, a heavily-wooded community in the Hualapai Mountains southeast of Kingman. The money from the USDA Forest Service flows to the town through the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management (DFFM).

“The grants provide financial assistance to at-risk communities to protect their residents from catastrophic wildfire through the development and implementation of Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP),” a news release said. ?“These master plans must be designed to provide for wildfire risk reduction, build fire adapted communities, prioritize hazardous fuels reduction work, and promote fire training to ensure a collaborative, unified response between local fire departments, the state, and federal land management agencies.”

CWPP Program Coordinator Karl Gehrke knows how important these grants are to communities like Pine Lake, one of the most at-risk areas for wildfires in the state. 

“Soon after the 2021 Flag Fire in Pine Lake, residents asked DFFM Prevention for help with mitigation efforts. We immediately engaged with outreach, guidance, and conducted home assessments to quickly get them aligned with Firewise USA standards which allowed them to enter the program,” Gehrke said. ?“Now with this nearly $4 million in federal funding, we can take their efforts one step further and map out long-term community protection projects to better safeguard Pine Lake. We appreciate the continual support of the USDA Forest Service as we work together to build a healthier and safer.”

The government is providing $3.3-million more to support additional projects including development of new CWPPs for Santa Cruz and Coconino Counties, along with

updates to existing plans for the Greater Flagstaff area and Cochise County, and a fuels reduction project in Patagonia as outlined within the existing Pima County CWPP.

“The CWPP serves as a comprehensive blueprint for wildfire mitigation and preparedness tailored to our area’s specific needs and characteristics. By identifying high-risk areas, implementing proactive measures, and fostering collaboration among stakeholders, the CWPP plays a pivotal role in enhancing the resilience of our community to wildfire incidents, said Sobeira Castro, Director for the Santa Cruz County Office of Emergency Management. ?“Additionally, by prioritizing prevention and preparedness, the CWPP helps reduce the economic and ecological impacts of wildfires, preserving the vibrancy and vitality of our community for generations to come.”