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By Lynne Terry
Oregon Capital Chronicle 

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

 

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.

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

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

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.

Last 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, and accessory structures – $500 per structure with a $1,000 maximum.

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

oregoncapitalchronicle.com

 

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