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Community Wildfire Defense Grant Picture of house and trees

SONORA, CA:  The Tuolumne Utilities District (TUD) is excited and proud to announce the successful acquisition of the USDA Forst Service Community Wildfire Defense Grant, a crucial step in fortifying our community against the escalating threat of wildfires.  This grant, totaling $249,927 will allow TUD to develop a comprehensive Wildfire Risk Mitigation Plan- a roadmap for addressing local wildfire risk.  A key focus of the grant will be to establish a Wildfire Protection Draft-Points Plan, strategically identifying raw water fire draft-points throughout the district.

Notably, the driving force behind securing this vital funding was Board Vice President, Ron Ringen and Board Director, Barbara Balen (who served as Board President at the time of the grant application), both dedicated advocates for the community’s safety.  Their commitment and leadership were pivotal in navigating the grant pursuit process, showcasing TUD’s proactive approach to wildfire prevention.

Vice President Ringen expressed his excitement stating, “I’m just thrilled that we are going to be getting that grant to finally accomplish our goal, which will benefit the entire community.  By improving firefighter’s access to untreated water sources, we preserve the system’s potable water for critical drinking and sanitary purposes.”

Director Balen emphasized the significance of this plan stating, “This plan will maximize TUD’s ability to make gravity-fed, non-potable, raw water available for emergency fire response while reducing the risk of fire to our water infrastructure through vegetation management.  TUD pulled together a stellar team including Rick Lind from EN2 out of Placerville and Biology Conservation Institute who worked with post-fire recovery plans for Paradise. It is critical that we protect our green infrastructure for wildlife while making non-potable water available.  It all works together, and I hope the insurance companies take these things into consideration.”

The District is excited to receive this funding and looks forward to engaging the community and its agency partners to identify shared wildfire concerns and begin prioritizing risk-reducing actions to mitigate the risk of wildfire.

December 7, 2023
Contact: Emily Long
External Affairs Specialist
(209) 532-5536

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