Santa Paula, CA – The City of Santa Paula is proud to announce that it is the recipient of California’s Climate Investments Fire Prevention Grant, which will provide the City with $300,000 to implement its fire prevention and safety programs. This grant aims at mitigating wildfire risk to habitable structures and communities through the removal of fire fuel including dying, dead or diseased trees, fire prevention planning and fire prevention and emergency education.
With the State’s funding, the City plans to implement a eucalyptus removal program. Eucalyptus trees, which are not native to California, emit a highly flammable oil that creates their characteristic fragrance but also causes the tree to heat up much quicker than other trees. Additionally, eucalyptus trees tend to shed bark and dead leaves that provide fuel for fires. Considering much of the Ventura County region is considered to be in exceptional drought conditions, the most severe level, eucalyptus trees and their shedded leaves prove to be an extremely dangerous fire hazard. And while several trees will be removed, the City is looking at opportunities for restoration and new tree planting opportunities in the area.
“September was National Emergency Preparedness Month, so it’s fitting that we are able to reinforce the City’s commitment to fire prevention and safety by the achievement of this grant,” said Santa Paula City Manager Dan Singer. “Fire season in California is no longer just one season, but practically the whole year, so we need to continue these fire mitigation projects to do our part to keep our residents and environment safe from these increasingly damaging fires.”
In 2020 alone, over four million acres burned across the State, the worst wildfire season in California’s history. Strategically removing hazardous brush such as dead leaves, grass and trees can limit the negative effects of inevitable wildfires. Brush not only restricts the defensible space around a structure that can help firefighters more safely and effectively fight a fire, but it also serves to further fuel the fire, allowing it to burn longer, hotter, and faster.
In addition to its new eucalyptus fuel removal program, the City of Santa Paula also previously received a grant to help the City maintain services during Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS). In March of this year, the City obtained a grant from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CAL OES) that has allowed the City to install various backup generators, maintain food storage supply, ensure that the Community Center can serve as a cooling center and emergency shelter, and provide backup power for the Santa Paula Police Department’s Emergency communications.
“In the age where the effects of climate change are seen before our very eyes, the City of Santa Paula strives to create and promote environmentally-conscious programs and services,” continued Singer. “While Mother Nature is a force bigger than all of us, I am confident that the work by Santa Paula staff, such as pursuing these grants that allow for the implementation of these programs, will assist with helping to safeguard our community.”