The $2.2 million grant will allow IRC to work with partners to develop and expand collaborative wildfire prevention projects throughout Orange County. IRC currently facilitates the County of Orange Area Safety Task Force (COAST), which works to prevent fires and keep communities safe. Through COAST, IRC will focus on preventing ignitions during strong Santa Ana winds and develop projects and programs to make communities more resilient to wildfire through hardening structures and improving maintenance of strategic fuel modification zones.
The COAST Working Group has already developed a Community Wildfire Prevention Plan and an Action Strategy of priorities programs and projects. The RFFC grant will help develop projects based on these priorities that can then take advantage of major implementation funding the state has made available to reduce wildfire risk.
The RFFC program is a California Department of Conservation program, encouraging active partnerships throughout the state to reduce the threat of wildfire. The goal of the program is to increase regional capacity to prioritize, develop, and implement projects to improve the health and wildfire resilience of wildfire prone landscapes throughout California.
“Irvine Ranch Conservancy is one of our new grant recipients in 2022,” said Kealiʻi Bright, Assistant Director at the Department of Conservation. “COAST is a terrific example of regional collaboration on wildfire, and we are excited about the potential of this funding to catalyze their Action Plan for Orange County.”
Convened in 2014 by the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA), COAST is an unprecedented collaboration of more than 24 agencies, fire departments, landowners and other organizations working together to reduce the risk of wildfire in our region.
“Orange County has experienced a dramatic increase in the frequency of major wildfires over the years,” said Brian Fennessy, OCFA Fire Chief. “The only way to effectively reduce this threat is for everyone to take responsibility for cohesive, shared solutions. COAST is a national model of how key stakeholders working together can have a big impact.”
“IRC is excited to continue working with our partner network to develop programs and projects to prevent ignitions, improve community safety, and reduce wildfire risk to our communities and wildlands,” said O'Connell.
For more information about the Irvine Ranch Conservancy and wildfire prevention efforts on the Landmarks, visit IRConservancy.org.