In an effort to help prevent wildfires and protect communities, Pacific Gas and Electric Company is again donating some $2 million to fire safe councils across wildfire-prone California, the company announced.
San Luis Obispo County’s Fire Safe Council is among those getting grants, which PG&E said was “to enhance the safety and preparedness of local communities.”
“Years of drought, extreme heat and 129-million dead trees are creating a ‘new normal’ in our state and we must continue to adapt to these challenges,” Kevin Dasso, PG&E vice president of electric asset management said in a statement. “We appreciate our continuing partnership with local Fire Safe Councils to complete this important safety work. These projects create fuel breaks to protect communities, clear vegetation from evacuation routes, and help underserved customers create critical defensible space to protect their homes from fire.”
PG&E has provided $13 million to local Fire Safe Councils and non-profit organizations since the program started in 2014. It’s funded more than 200 projects in Northern and Central California that has included fuel reduction, shaded fuel breaks, emergency access and wood-chipping programs.
This year, the funding will complete some 30 projects in 24 counties and the projects must be completed by October. PG&E is also preparing for wildfires through its new “Community Wildfire Safety Program,” the company said.
“The company launched the program in March as an additional precautionary measure intended to reduce wildfire threats and strengthen communities for the future,” reads a news release. “Through the program, PG&E is bolstering wildfire prevention and emergency response efforts, putting in place new and enhanced safety measures, and doing more over the long term to harden its electric system to help reduce wildfire risks and to keep its customers safe.”
PG&E is facing numerous lawsuits resulting from last year’s massive wildfires in Napa and Sonoma Counties, which destroyed thousands of homes and businesses, and killed more than 40 people. PG&E’s electrical infrastructure is being blamed for sparking at least some of those fires.