WASHINGTON, D.C. — The City of Ashland will receive a $3 million FEMA grant toward wildfire preparedness efforts, Oregon's U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced on Friday.
“Ashland residents know from painful experience the frightening hazards of living and working in a region at serious risk of wildfires,” Wyden said. “This federal investment will help to protect hundreds of homes from that danger as one key piece of a larger must-do strategy that also includes more effective policies in Oregon and nationwide to fight wildfires and to combat climate change now.”
The grant is partially earmarked for creation of defensible space around 1,100 homes in Ashland, in addition to replacements for 23 wood shake roofs in favor of ignition-resistant roofing materials.
“Can you imagine the trauma of losing your home, everything you own — or, worst of all, a loved one — to a wildfire?” said Merkley. “We have to do everything we can to prevent the kind of pain that was inflicted on Oregonians by last year’s unprecedented wildfire season, and I’m glad that we were able to secure this funding to help us on that mission in Ashland. I’m going to keep working for similar resources for more communities across our state, because everyone — regardless of the color of their skin, their zip code, or their income—deserves protection from catastrophic blazes.”
The lawmakers said that the $3 million grant will go toward assessments of the identified homes, surveys for vegetation removal, scheduling and training of pre-approved contractors, hiring a project manager, vegetation removal, and roof reconstruction efforts.
“We are incredibly excited and grateful for this grant that will significantly boost and expand our existing wildfire prevention programs and efforts,” said Adam Hanks, Ashland's city manager pro tem. “These funds will focus on already pre-identified at-risk homes and areas of our community. The support and engagement of our federal legislators and their local team is a tremendous asset in supporting our community’s need and desire to reduce our wildfire risk.”