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Help To Home Harden Against Wildfires

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Sonora, CA — Homeowners in six California counties will soon begin receiving home retrofits with ignition-resistant materials for California’s most vulnerable populations as part of the California Wildfire Mitigation Program.

The pilot home hardening initiative provides funding for defensible space and ignition-resistant retrofits to harden around 2,500 homes in six counties over the next three years. One of those counties is Tuolumne. It was recently awarded $931,200 in funds to begin the first phase of program development for defensible space and home hardening costs in the Ponderosa Hills area. That breaks down to $838,000 from FEMA and $93,200 from the state.

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and CAL FIRE have teamed up to create a joint powers agreement to administer a home hardening program, which has never been done on a community scale. Typically, home hardening has been done by individual homeowners, not entire communities.

“This is an important step forward,” said Acting State Fire Marshal Daniel Berlant. “The home hardening initiative pilot will help California create a model for hardened communities that others can learn from and replicate.”

The program’s purpose is to aid communities that have been identified as vulnerable to wildfire, including impacts from future climate risk, and have populations that have a greater risk of wildfire. The first site work is expected to begin sometime in the fall of 2023.

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