In Short

State offers $10 million in grants to help 2020 wildfire property owners

By: - July 13, 2022 4:53 pm

Labor Day wildfires in 2020 caused millions of dollars in damage. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

Thousands of Oregonians whose homes or businesses were damaged by the 2020 wildfires are eligible for state grants to help protect them from future wildfire damage.

The state Department of Consumer and Business Services said Monday it is offering up to $7,500 for a manufactured home or $6,800 for another home or business to pay for renovations that “harden” the structures against wildfire damage. The grants cover roofs, walls, decks and porches, windows and skylights, overhangs and ventilation improvements.

The agency has $10 million for hardening projects and estimates that owners of about 4,300 damaged homes or businesses would qualify for grants. Owners must complete the work and then apply for reimbursement.

More information:

For more details and to apply, visit the agency’s fire hardening grant program webpage.

The grants are open to anyone who made fire hardening fixes since the 2020 Labor Day wildfires. On Sept. 7 and 8 that year, windstorms kicked up five megafires that spread to more than 100,000 acres and 12 smaller blazes that scorched up to about 50,000 acres. In days, the fires burned more than 1 million acres, destroyed thousands of structures, displaced tens of thousands of people and killed nine, according to the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, which supports the timber industry. The fires caused millions of dollars in damage.

Wildfires in 2021 also damaged hundreds of structures, especially the Bootleg fire which started in July, but the grants only apply to 2020 damage.

On Monday, the Oregon Department of Forestry declared that wildfire season had started statewide.

Fire hardening helps structures resist damage. Renovations include using materials in roofing and siding that prevent ignition, installing fire-resistant windows or installing attic ventilation systems that can keep embers out.“These improvements are particularly effective at preventing ignition from embers, which can travel great distances from wildfires,” said Alana Cox, an agency administrator. “We hope this program will help people affected by the wildfires build back more fire-resistant communities.”

The program includes specific amounts for each type of improvement:

  • Roofing – $2,200
  • External wall covering – $1,750
  • Ventilation – $350
  • Overhangs, cantilevers and projections – $400
  • Porches, balconies and decks- $550
  • Windows and skylights – $500
  • Skirting on manufactured homes – $500
  • Accessory structures – $500 per structure with a $1,000 maximum

Mark Peterson, spokesman for the Consumer and Business Services Department, said owners who qualify can receive grants in several categories.

Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn and Marion counties are taking part in the program. Their building departments will distribute the grants. 

 

 

 

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Lynne Terry
Lynne Terry

Lynne Terry has more than 30 years of journalism experience, including a recent stint as editor of The Lund Report, a highly regarded health news site. She reported on health and food safety in her 18 years at The Oregonian, was a senior producer at Oregon Public Broadcasting and Paris correspondent for National Public Radio for nine years. She has won state, regional and national awards, including a National Headliner Award for a long-term care facility story and a top award from the National Association of Health Care Journalists for an investigation into government failures to protect the public from repeated salmonella outbreaks. She loves to cook and entertain, speaks French and is learning Portuguese.

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