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MCFSC Fire Safety Micro-Grant History

MCFSC Fire Safety Micro-Grant History 

In 2022, the MCFSC initiated the Fire Safety Micro-Grant program, dedicated to bolstering the endeavors of Neighborhood Fire Safe Councils (NFSCs) and fire agencies in advancing their fire safety objectives across Mendocino County. Annually, the Micro-Grant program invites applications from local groups, fostering a sense of community engagement.

The program’s impact surged in 2023 and 2024, thanks to the generous $50,000 matching grant from the PG&E corporation. Grants have ranged from $2,000 – $10,000 over the years and have made a crucial impact for local initiatives. 

Emphasizing the importance of local collaboration and proactive planning, MCFSC’s Micro-Grants go beyond mere monetary assistance. They serve as catalysts for local coordination, organization, and action, igniting a spirit of volunteerism dedicated to community safety. Simultaneously, these grants play a vital role in fortifying relationships within and between Neighborhood Fire Safe Councils (NFSCs) and fire departments.

Since its inception in 2022, the MCFSC has allocated $250,000 to local NFSCs and fire agencies in the County through the Micro-Grant program. Explore some of the stories below to discover the impactful projects that have unfolded throughout the years, showcasing Mendocino Counties enduring commitment to fire safety and community well-being.

2024 Micro-Grant awards: 

  • Albion Little River Fire Safe Council (FSC) will hire help to organize residents into neighborhood groups to enhance wildfire preparedness and response.
  • Brooktrails Township Community Service District will acquire a portable, collapsible water tank and associated equipment for wildfire incidents. 
  • Comptche Preparedness FSC will establish a Neighborhood Captains Emergency Radio Network for community-wide communication. 
  • Covelo Fire Protection District (FPD) will procure a water bladder and equipment to increase the capacity and functionality of their water tender. 
  • Fox Rock and Woodman Creek FSC will complete fuel-reduction projects and roadside work to improve emergency access and open up alternative evacuation routes. 
  • Hopland FPD will purchase two water tanks to place on McNab Ranch, to drastically reduce response time when its trucks need refilling.
  • Long Valley FPD will continue implementing its Defensible Space Program to provide free defensible-space assessments and education to residents. 
  • Mariposa Neighborhood FSC will host a queer chainsaw workshop to train county residents on reducing fuel loads near their homes. 
  • Navarro Area FSC will add to their Fire Hydrant Project, trenching and installing pipes and hydrants for the community as well as necessary signage. 
  • Piercy FPD will install potable gravity-fed spring water to their Emergency Shelter. 
  • Redwood Valley-Calpella Fire Department will educate the public using One Less Spark literature as well as distributing McLeod and other fire-suppression tools to class attendees. 
  • South Coast FPD will purchase equipment to support planned prescribed-burn projects.
  • Spy Rock Ready FSC will purchase used water tanks to increase firefighter capacity in rugged terrain without needing to travel long distances for water. 
  • Vista Del Lago FSC will purchase used water tanks and place them on strategically located properties with easy access for fire trucks. 
  • Westport FSC will focus on roadside fuel reduction and native plant vegetation management to encourage long-term fire resiliency. 
  • Whale Gulch FSC/ Volunteer Fire Department will hire a coordinator to work on qualifying as Firewise, apply for various grants, buy bulk reflective address signs, and coordinate community projects. 
  • Yorkville FSC will focus on fuel reduction on Pomo Tierra Road to improve safety on a one-way, one-way out road.

2023 Project Spotlight: Anderson Valley Prescribed Burn

Controlled burning of accumulated dead vegetation replicates nature’s way of preventing wildfires from becoming the devastating catastrophic events we’ve experienced in recent years.
The Mendocino County Prescribed Burn Association has been collaborating with the Anderson Valley Fire Department on increasing wildfire safety through prescribed burns in strategically selected areas. One of the Micro-Grants that we awarded in 2023 paid for AVFD’s purchase of a 5’x8’ trailer to store and transport their equipment to burn locations and defensible-space worksites.

Here is what they had to say, “This process has been easy to navigate. The MCFSC staff are supportive and knowledgeable.”

2023 Project Spotlight: McNab Fire Safe Council

Thanks to a $4,000 Micro-Grant awarded in 2023, the Neighborhood Fire Safe Council at McNab Ranch, a large rural subdivision between Ukiah and Hopland, has purchased and installed new reflective road and address signs!

These signs will help first responders locate residences and find their way even in dark and smoky conditions, while also helping evacuate residents and visitors who may be unfamiliar with McNab’s many miles of winding dirt roads.

Their larger effort also included working with the County and the Hopland Volunteer Fire Department to change legal road names, create accurate maps, plan emergency routes, and other aspects of making navigation on McNab Ranch clearer and easier.

2023 Micro-Grant Awards: 

  • Anderson Valley Fire Department is purchasing an equipment trailer to store and transport tools and equipment for prescribed burns.
  • Black Bart Fire Safe Council is working to clear brush along its roads, to slow wildfire and make evacuation and first-responder access faster and safer.
  • Hopland Fire Prevention District is installing water tanks at either side of its service area.
  • Hulls Valley Fire Safe Council (north of Covelo) is also purchasing a water tank and pump equipment.
  • Long Valley Fire Protection District (Laytonville) is providing defensible-space home assessments, to help individual homeowners know how to be best prepared.
  • McNab Ranch Fire Safe Council (south of Ukiah) will get new road signs and reflective address signs, after roads were re-named and parcels re-numbered. 
  • Navarro Fire Safe Council is installing a tank for 10,000 gallons of additional emergency water feeding a new hydrant system.
  • Point Arena Fire Safe Council is training Fire Safe Ambassadors, printing outreach materials, and presenting a wildfire-safety component at a community event.
  • Redwood Coast Fire Protection District is purchasing a commercial-grade thermal-imaging drone, including certification training for its operators, for uses such as fire detection, scouting rural roads and terrain, and mapping.
  • Ridgewood Ranch Volunteer Fire Department (south of Willits) is purchasing and refurbishing a used fire engine.
  • South Coast Fire Protection District will purchase Knox Locks and Knox Boxes to facilitate emergency access through locked gates.
  • String Creek and Tartar Canyon Fire Safe Council (outside Willits) is installing a water tank.
  • Westport Fire Safe Council is collaborating with several groups to accomplish roadside clearing and other fuel-reduction projects.
  • Whale Gulch Fire Safe Council (North Coast) is focusing on clean-up from winter storms, to clear downed trees and brush encroaching on access roads.
  • Wildwood Fire Safe Council (Laytonville) will purchase new water tanks and re-locate existing ones to more accessible locations.
  • Yorkville Fire Safe Council received funds in support of the Galbreath Wildlands Preserve’s Prescribed Burn education, outreach and planning project.

To learn more about projects funded under the 2022 Micro-Grant program, check out our very cool interactive story map by clicking the button below!

MCFSC’s 2022 micro-grants helped local groups achieve many small but strategic priorities; funded projects included: installation of water tanks along Bell Springs Road; evacuation signage along Black Bart Road; water-system infrastructure for the Comptche Fire Department; a large water tank for Redwood Coast Fire Protection District; defensible space education in Laytonville; purchase of Knox Locks for the Hopland Fire Department; mobile mapping for the South Coast Fire Protection District; purchase of fuel-reduction equipment by the Westport Fire Department; and pond-water piping to Signal Ridge Road in Anderson Valley.