Huffman, Thompson Applaud $37 Million in Federal Funding Awarded to Sonoma County to Improve Local Fire Resilience

Members supported grant request in a letter

June 30, 2021

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives Jared Huffman (CA-02) and Mike Thompson (CA-05) applauded a $37 million Federal grant awarded to the County of Sonoma through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Grant program. The members supported the County’s application for this grant in a letter and released the below statements today.

“With severe drought gripping the West, it's certain California will be up against another year of destructive wildfires,” said Huffman. “We know all too well the devastating impacts these fires can have to our region, and Rep. Thompson and I have been pushing for federal support that meets this urgent need. This funding announced by the Biden-Harris Administration is a welcome relief that will aid local response efforts and ensure our communities are more resilient against what lies ahead.”

“Our district and our region have been hit hard by fires and we have learned that preparing before fire season hits is one of the best ways to prevent property loss when fire strikes. That’s why I supported Sonoma County’s application for this important grant and am proud to announce they received $37 million in Federal funding today,” said Thompson. “This will allow our community to better prepare by hardening homes, increasing defensible space and building fuel breaks. Know I will continue working to bring back every Federal dollar and resource to help our region prepare for fire and mitigate the impact of future fires.”

“Since 2017 we have focused on innovative wildfire risk reduction strategies in Sonoma County. The approval of this project — which is the first of its kind in the country — validates the hard work and innovation in fire risk reduction that’s been underway for the last four years. These funds will help us implement “house outward” strategies such as cost-share incentives for private property owners who need help with hardening structures or creating defensible space,” said Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chair Lynda Hopkins. “Our goal is to get to 100% of at-risk homes having defensible space! This grant will also facilitate “wildland inward” strategies to create protective buffers around our communities, including landscape scale management strategies like grazing greenbelts and shaded fuel breaks.”

FEMA’s BRIC grant program supports state and local governments in their efforts to carry out hazard mitigation projects so they are better prepared for natural disasters such as fires. Sonoma County will use these funds to help communities create defensible space around homes in fire prone areas, harden homes and other structures and reduce fuel levels in parks and green spaces. You can click here to read more about the program, here to read the announcement from the White House, and click here to read Huffman and Thompson’s letter.