Board OKs grant to pay for fire hazard mapping

RIVERSIDE – Riverside County supervisors authorized the fire department to accept $184,153 in state grant to pay for fire hazard maps detailing geographical and topographical features of unincorporated areas.

The grant from the California Fire Safe Council will also enable the county to document and map the impacts of non-native insects on native landscapes.

The money originated from the U.S. Forest Service and other federal agencies, according to fire officials.

“These funds are dedicated to protecting the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel against fire and fire-related hazards in the unincorporated areas,” according to an agency statement. “The mapping and surveying projects will identify risk hazards and increase effectiveness of initial attack response by fire department personnel.”

Surveyors will create the fire hazard maps over an unspecified period of time. After the charts are finalized, they will be distributed to county fire personnel and surrounding agencies that may assist the county and Cal Fire under mutual aid compacts.

The maps will aid in establishing action plans and optimizing “defensible space” in certain communities, according to the fire department.

The non-native insects’ impact component of the grant will include an assessment of how spotted oak borers and bark beetles are decimating woodlands.

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