California to benefit from $1.4 million wildfire safety grant program


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A fresh chapter of collaboration was inaugurated between Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and the California Fire Foundation (CFF), with the announcement of new grant offerings for organisations and fire departments based in California, dedicated to wildfire safety and emergency readiness.

The deadline for application submission via the CFF online portal is June 30, 2023, with grant awardees slated to receive notification from July 31, 2023.

PG&E, in association with The PG&E Corporation Foundation, is channelling a cumulative sum of $1.4 million towards CFF’s Wildfire Safety and Preparedness Program (WSPP).

For the sixth year in a row, this joint venture aims to augment public understanding of wildfire safety while providing vital resources to underprivileged communities situated in high fire-risk zones. In its previous iteration, the grant initiative bestowed a total of $730,000 upon 66 community associations and local fire departments.

Ever since its inception in 2018, CFF, as the administrator and manager of the WSPP, has granted 265 grants to diverse community bodies and fire departments across California, laying special emphasis on the Northern and Central regions. The funding primarily targets communities deemed to be at high risk of severe wildfires, as recognised by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Enhancing public safety

Reflecting on the recent weather conditions, Rick Martinez, Executive Director of the California Fire Foundation, commented: “While the unprecedented storms of this past winter helped lift the majority of California out of the decades-long drought, the unfortunate flip side is the increased potential for a later but more robust wildfire season.”

He continued: “The Wildfire Safety and Preparedness Program is a partnership with PG&E that was created to address the increasing wildfire risk. Our collaboration over the last six years has played an important role in helping local communities mitigate their wildfire risks and enhance the public’s safety.”

Emphasising the shared objectives of the CFF and PG&E, Mark Quinlan, PG&E’s Senior Vice President of Wildfire & Emergency Operations, said: “PG&E and the California Fire Foundation share the same goal of ensuring that our hometowns are doing everything possible to prevent wildfires from starting.

“Local fire departments, agencies and community groups play such a key role in prioritising and executing the projects that protect communities and in raising awareness about wildfire safety. We’re grateful for our ongoing partnership with the CFF as it provides real-time benefits such as defensible space and fuel-reduction programs as well as crucial awareness to customers in underserved communities.”

What is the funding going towards?

In the period from 2018 to date, PG&E and the PG&E Foundation have committed a substantial total of $7.4 million to support fire safety awareness via the WSPP. This philanthropic contribution is funded by shareholders, without impacting PG&E customers.

The WSPP’s extensive reach since 2018 has enabled funding for:

  • Specialised fire equipment and personal protective gear
  • Efforts towards defensible space and vegetation management
  • Fuel and hazard mitigation programs
  • Fire prevention and emergency readiness education, including programs targeted at senior citizens
  • Fire safety awareness campaigns, inclusive of 12,000 multilingual pamphlets aimed at underserved communities in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hmong, and Vietnamese
  • Collaborative partnerships with community organisations in high fire-risk areas for the distribution of fire safety material.

The program further focuses on developing and circulating fire-safety messages in languages that include Spanish, Chinese, Hmong, and Vietnamese, encapsulating comprehensive media campaigns utilising outdoor billboards and in-language television, radio, and digital advertisements.

About the California Fire Foundation

The California Fire Foundation, a nonprofit organisation, extends support to firefighters, their families, and the communities they protect. The Firefighters on Your Side program by CFF, which is backed by PG&E, delivers multilingual and culturally pertinent fire safety messages in digital and print formats, thereby helping to ensure public safety.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a branch of the PG&E Corporation, is a combined natural gas and electric utility that serves over 16 million individuals across a 70,000 square mile area in Northern and Central California.

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