CalFire offers support for California rural communities through forest health and wildfire preparedness projects

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announces $17 million in Business and Workforce Development grant awards to 20 projects that will support non-profit organizations, private businesses and educational institutions that are enhancing forest resilience and wildfire preparedness across the state.

These projects encompass a wide array of initiatives intended to increase capacity for utilizing forest biomass, workforce development and research and development into new uses for forest biomass.

Matt King of Tuolumne Biomass underscores the pivotal role of the CalFrie Business and Workforce Development grants in catalyzing the growth of biomass utilization facilities, stating,

“The CalFire Business and Workforce Development Grant Program has been instrumental for the development of both our own biomass utilization facility and so many others across the state of California.”

Several grants will reimburse small forest operators for equipment acquisitions, including sawmill upgrades to increase the use of forest biomass. This support will increase the capacity for fuels treatments, helping the State to reach its forest management objectives.

Workforce development projects will support new job training opportunities, including the California Local Conservation Corps Foundation who will facilitate training, certification, and job placement for 340 local corps members. This will equip corps members for entry-level forestry technician and seasonal firefighting roles with federal, state, and local fire service agencies.

Mass timber production, technology for prescribed fire management, track-and-trace software for biomass, decarbonization of cement manufacturing, and exploration of converting low-value forest biomass into a horticultural substrate are topics to be explored through research and development awards.

These projects align with California’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan. Funded through California Climate Investments, CalFires’s Business and Workforce Development grant awards signify a commitment to fostering resilience in California’s forest ecosystems while bolstering wildfire preparedness measures. For comprehensive details, please visit CalFire’s Wood Products and Bioenergy webpage.