Local wildfire mitigation activities rely heavily on financial and technical resources that may not be readily available to communities. Securing additional funding to support long-term community and home mitigation measures may be required.
Funding opportunities are available from local, state, and federal sources to support risk-reduction efforts at the home/parcel, neighborhood, and landscape scale. Funding ranges from state and federal subsidies and small grants for homeowners to retrofit homes and create defensible space to larger cost-share grants for forest fuels-reduction projects. Private foundations also fund wildfire mitigation projects. See Resources, below, for helpful links to potential funding sources for grants.
Some communities have passed ballot measures for new taxes or bonds to generate ongoing revenue for wildfire risk-reduction activities. (See examples below.) These solutions require political will and effective community outreach to gain voter support, but they can result in long-term funding.
Due to the many risk-reduction techniques and resources, communities are strongly encouraged to contact their state forester, state Hazard Mitigation Officer, regional and local wildfire councils, and other federal, state, and local agencies to further explore the types of assistance that may be available and specific to their needs.
Flagstaff, AZ – In 2012, Flagstaff voters overwhelmingly to approve a $10 million bond referendum to support the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project – a partnership effort between the city, state, and Coconino National Forest to reduce the risk of devastating wildfire and post-fire flooding within key local watersheds. This is one of only a handful of examples in the country where forest restoration work in a national forest is being funded by a municipality, and the only known instance where such an effort is funded from municipal bonds. The City of Flagstaff has since pioneered wildfire mitigation efforts within the community and has worked proactively with various regional partners and land management agencies for years to restore forests and reduce fire risk to the community at large. Public involvement is a large and important component of this project given the importance and proximity of the area to Flagstaff residents, the complexity of the issues, and the unique nature of the funding.
Chaffee County, CO – In 2018, Chaffee County voters passed ballot issue 1A, which provides an estimated $250,000 annual funding for countywide wildfire mitigation and prevention through a sales tax. The campaign to promote the measure was driven by Envision Chaffee County, a citizen-run organization formed to address a rapidly growing population, increased recreational tourism, and worsening wildfire seasons. These funds are earmarked for landscape-scale countywide risk-reduction treatment projects, including fuel breaks and beetle kill pine removal. Chaffee Common Ground Citizen Advisory Committee advises the allocation of the funds. Through this funding, Chaffee County aims to reduce wildfire risk throughout its jurisdiction.