COLUMBUS, OH - More than $2,500 in grants was awarded to local fire departments in Athens and Belmont counties to support community wildfire prevention and education projects, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
The Amesville-Bern Volunteer Fire Department in Athens County will receive a $1,900 Wildfire Hazard Mitigation Grant, and the Maynard Volunteer Fire Department in Belmont County will receive a similar grant for $850. The grants were awarded as part of the ODNR Division of Forestry's Firewise Ohio Program, which is designed to reduce wildfire risk to homes built in or near woods and fields.
“The ODNR Division of Forestry has identified areas within each of these fire departments’ protection districts as having an increased wildfire danger,” said John Dorka, chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. “Homes are built in woods or grasslands in these areas, and are therefore much more susceptible to damage by wildfire.”
Both the Amesville and Maynard volunteer fire departments are taking steps to increase community safety. Efforts are focused on helping homeowners decrease wildfire hazards through awareness campaigns, school educational programs, and wildfire fuels reduction projects. Programs such as those in Maynard and Amesville increase community safety by empowering homeowners to make educated decisions concerning their woodland properties.
These communities and others that are in at-risk areas for wildfires are developing Community Wildfire Preparedness Plans with assistance from the ODNR Firewise Ohio program. These plans address safety and operations before, during, and after larger-scale wildfire events.