BOTHELL, Wash. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded a $3 million grant to Ashland, Oregon, to create wildfire defensible space around 1,100 homes and to replace 23 wood shake roofs with ignition-resistant roof material.
The City of Ashland in Oregon’s Jackson County is in a high wildfire risk zone. In the fall of 2020, neighboring communities of Talent and Phoenix were devastated by the Almeda Fire, which burned 2,977 acres and destroyed over 2,300 structures.
This mitigation project will help protect the identified structures and nearby structures from wildfires and will help homes in the Ashland area comply with recommended local best practices for wildfire risk reduction. Replacing wood shake roofs and providing defensible space to structures reduces the risk of wildfire spread and diminishes the likelihood of wildfires starting from embers. Once these highly flammable roofs are replaced, these types of roofs will no longer be allowed in Ashland.
This $3 million Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) grant is paid directly to the Oregon Office of Emergency Management to then disburse to the City of Ashland. These funds are authorized under Section 203 of the Stafford Act and target structures that have the greatest wildfire risk. The City of Ashland is contributing a $1 million cost-share, making the total value of this grant $4 million.
The project includes hiring a project manager, preliminary assessments of identified homes, surveys for vegetation removal, scheduling and training of pre-approved contractors, removal of vegetation, and reconstruction of roofs.
In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, this project went through an environmental assessment and a subsequent Finding of No Significant Impact was issued.
FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.