Valley News -

By City News Service
Special to Valley News 

Wildfire prevention education funding announced for Cranston fire residents


Last updated 12/27/2018 at 7:32pm

The office of Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, announced a $200,000 grant Thursday, Dec. 20, to fund wildfire prevention and fire safety education in communities throughout the San Jacinto Mountains, where the Cranston fire ravaged more than 13,000 acres this summer.

The funding, announced by Ruiz's office and the volunteer-helmed nonprofit Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council, will support programs for educating residents of Idyllwild and the surrounding communities on fire safety, as well as conducting removal of dead trees, brush, overgrowth and hazardous fuels from private properties. The fire safety education and debris removal programs will be publicly available and entirely free to residents of the mountain communities, according to Ruiz's office.

“I have seen houses and property saved during the Cranston fire as a result of Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council's educational outreach and fuel reduction projects. I am proud to have helped the MCFSC earn this grant award,” Ruiz said. “Cranston fire demonstrated how quickly wildfires can spread, and groups like MCFSC are helping our communities prevent wildfires before they endanger local residents. As these fires grow in size and frequency, I will continue to work with MCFSC to bring home necessary resources to help prevent fires and keep my constituents safe.”

The arson-caused Cranston fire burned for more than two weeks between late July and early August, leading to the evacuations of thousands of residents living in the San Jacinto Mountains.

Officials hope that the latest funding, which complements a separate $200,000 grant awarded earlier this month by the California Fire Safe Council, will give mountain residents the tools they need in the face of another potential major wildfire.

“Many of the people coming to live in the mountains know very little of the forest environment and its relationship with wildland fire. The protection of life and property in a rural community as it relates to wildland fire depends largely on continuous forest fuels reduction done by the local property owners,” Pete Coy, field supervisor for the Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council, said. “The grant funding that we receive is used to help educate these property owners and to give them incentive to make their homes and their community as fire safe as possible.”


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