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Napa County, California – Napa County announced today its selection as a recipient of the federal Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant, amounting to $37.5 million, with an additional 25 percent match to be provided by the county. This grant will play a pivotal role in bolstering Napa County's efforts to implement the previously adopted Napa County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), an all-encompassing wildfire mitigation program, reinforcing long-term wildfire and climate resilience for its residents and communities.
A staggering 36 percent of Napa County's population resides within wildfire hazard severity zones, facing heightened risks due to the county witnessing 26 wildfires since 2015, with a startling 62 percent of its land area scorched since 2017. Responding proactively, the Napa Community Firewise Foundation initiated the Napa County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), structured around two vital phases: the establishment of defensible space or ignition-resistant construction, and the reduction of hazardous fuels.
The CWPP, adopted by the Napa County Board of Supervisors in 2021, sets forth an ambitious agenda to mitigate risks to human life, property and critical infrastructure. Key actions encompass the strategic removal or modification of vegetative fuels, the creation of vital fuel breaks, and the implementation of fire-resistant vegetation. Additionally, the initiative prioritizes fortifying evacuation routes, securing drinking water reservoirs, and protecting essential facilities while simultaneously enhancing forest health and resilience. These actions collectively reinforce Napa County's enduring wildfire and climate resilience, benefiting countless residents and communities.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognized the paramount significance of this endeavor within the scope of the BRIC national competition. With 124 projects chosen across 115 communities, the selected projects stand as critical measures to mitigate natural hazard risks, ultimately fortifying states, local communities, tribes, and territories against potential disasters.
Belia Ramos, Chair of the Napa County Board of Supervisors, emphasized the monumental impact of strengthening critical infrastructure. She expressed her gratitude for the collaboration between FEMA, the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), and dedicated county staff who helped to secure these funds. Ramos conveyed her optimism, stating, "This grant will empower us to take significant strides in safeguarding our community for future generations, especially in the face of impending wildfires."
“This grant amplifies our commitment to resilience—and will have a tremendous impact on our ability to drive and uphold investment in wildfire resiliency projects that bring value to our region in the years ahead,” added CEO Ryan Alsop. “Working in collaboration with CAL Fire/Napa County Fire, Napa Firewise and our community partners to implement our comprehensive wildfire mitigation program, we're charting a course to safeguard not only our land but also the very essence of our community.”
About Building Resilient Infrastructure & Communities (BRIC)The Building Resilient Infrastructure & Communities program originated from the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 (DRRA), with the intent of assisting States, local governments, and Indian Tribal governments in implementing cost-effective hazard mitigation activities that align with comprehensive mitigation programs. BRIC funding aids states, territories, tribal entities, and communities in hazard mitigation planning and project execution, minimizing risks to populations and structures prior to disaster occurrences. By investing in such proactive measures, communities can reduce reliance on disaster declaration funds. FEMA awards BRIC grants through a competitive process, prioritizing capability and capacity building, encouraging innovation, fostering partnerships, facilitating significant projects, maintaining flexibility, and promoting consistency.
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