COLLEGE STATION, Texas (FOX 44) – Landowners in Central Texas can now apply for grants to help reduce risks posed to their properties by wildfire.

The Texas A&M Forest Service says the State Fire Assistance for Mitigation – Mechanical Fuels Grant offers financial assistance to landowners to reduce fuels at high-risk for wildfire by using mechanical fuel reduction practices.

“These grants will be used to protect high-risk communities by reducing their risk of catastrophic wildfire through fuel reduction,” said Victoria Wenkman, Texas A&M Forest Service Fuels Program Specialist. “Putting in fuel breaks and reducing fuels on property can reduce a wildfire’s behavior and spread, potentially saving lives and property.”

Fuel breaks are a removed section of vegetation which can decrease intensity of fires, protect first responders by giving them wide access lanes and slow incoming wildfires.

“A fuel break can also benefit native vegetation and wildlife, allowing for shaded fuel breaks where large native trees remain and smaller invasive species are removed,” said Wenkman.

Funding will be provided to private landowners for reimbursement costs assoiciated with hand-cut fuel breaks using chainsaws or mechanical mulching using mechanical brush cutters, forestry mulchers and similar pieces of equipment.

32 counties in Central Texas are eligible for funding of actual costs not to exceed $750 per acre for hand-cut fuel breaks or $2,000 per acre for mulched fuel breaks. The maximum reimbursement for either method is $10,000.

Priority will be given to landowners who live within the designated counties, are situated to protect the most homes and values, are located in a county or city that has an active Community Wildfire Protection Plan or live within a Firewise USA Site.

After the application deadline, submissions will be ranked – and approval or denial letters will be sent by September 30. If approved, applicants have 90 days to contract and complete the fuel break work.

For more information about the State Fire Assistance for Mitigation – Mechanical Fuel Reduction grant, you can view an eligibility map and apply here: https://bit.ly/3IB6LDa.