Wildfire Matters Review Committee. The bill makes the following modifications to the existing "Forest Restoration and Wildfire Risk Mitigation Act" (act) and, specifically, the grant program funded by the act:
- Currently, grant applicants are required to self-finance 50% of the cost of a project funded by a grant. The bill, in the case of a project that is located in an area with fewer economic resources, lessens this requirement so that grant applicants are required to self-finance 25% of the total cost of the project. The forest service is required to establish a policy that specifies the criteria by which a project will satisfy such requirements.
- In meeting the match requirements under the act, specifies that a project may be funded in whole or in part from gifts, grants, or donations received from any organization, entity, or individual.
- In measuring an in-kind contribution under the act, specifies that such a contribution may include volunteer hours provided by the staff of an entity or organization applying for grant funding and the time for which staff receives monetary compensation in the form of salary or other financial benefits.
- Permits a grant project eligible to receive funding to support ongoing maintenance efforts undertaken by eligible recipients to reduce the threat of large, high-intensity wildfires.
- Eliminates an existing requirement that, to receive funding, a project must include a diverse and balanced group of stakeholders as well as appropriate governmental representatives. As part of the submission of grant applications, the forest service encourages applicants to include on their grant applications information that indicates whether the project satisfies these objectives.
- Adds to the list of recipients eligible to receive grant funding a fire protection district and a nonprofit organization or entity engaged in firefighting or fire management activities.
- Extends the date by which the grant program will be repealed to September 1, 2029.
In the bill, the general assembly encourages the forest service to modify its administrative policies and procedures to enable funding to be provided to grant recipients in March to enable wildfire mitigation to commence before the prime wildfire season starts in June .
(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)