Thompson Peak Initiative partners, Lloyd Keefer, Lassen County Fire Safe Council chair, left, Chris Christopherson, of Cal Fire, Matthew Jedra, of Plumas National Forest, Tom Esgate, Lassen County Fire Safe Council managing director and William Johnson, Honey Lake Valley RCD, address meeting attendees Aug.12. Photo submitted

Thompson Peak Initiative receives $3.3 million Cal Fire grant

Cal Fire has awarded $3,341,389 to Lassen County Fire Safe Council, Inc. to begin implementing fuel treatments within and around the communities of Janesville and Milford and the adjacent Plumas National Forest. Funds come from California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment — helping to mitigate the effects of climate change. Through the CCI Fire Prevention Grant Program, Cal Fire provides funding for local projects and activities that address the risk of wildfire and reduce wildfire potential to forested and forest adjacent communities.

Thompson Peak Initiative was formed in June of last year in an effort to plan and acquire funds for fuel treatments in a project area that is deemed the highest priority in the Lassen County Community Wildfire Protection Plan. The initiative’s principal partners include the Fire Safe Council, Cal Fire, Lassen County, Plumas National Forest, Eagle Lake BLM Field Office, the Janesville, Milford and Susan River fire protection districts, the Honey Lake Valley Resource Conservation District and a broad coalition of community residents.

In addition, the provision of Title III funds by Lassen County to LCFSC has helped support TPI’s efforts.

Throughout the past nine months, the initiative has held monthly community meetings, attended by up to 70 residents, to plan for this comprehensive fuel treatment project that will protect the communities of Janesville and Milford from wildfire.

It has also been critical for the initiative to engage with residents to garner their support and participation in the planned project.

Community volunteers, headed up by Fire Safe Council board member Phil Good, instituted a petition drive that accumulated more than 2,300 signatures in support of the project that was presented to Cal Fire last December.

Cal Fire’s Lassen Modoc Unit has played a critical role in helping support Thompson Peak Initiative’s efforts.

Unit Chief Scott Packwood said, “I would like to thank the Lassen Fire Safe Council for working with Cal Fire to secure this grant funding to begin work on a critical fuel reduction project. The Thompson Peak Initiative’s work will help reduce the threat of wildfire and will assist firefighters in protecting the communities of Janesville, Milford and the surrounding area.”

“Last year’s Walker Fire and the ensuing evacuations have shown how critical it is for comprehensive fuel and forest restoration treatments to be implemented in these communities,” said Lloyd Keefer, Lassen County Fire Safe Council chair. “Thompson Peak Initiative joins our Diamond Mountain Initiative as yet another example of how working together, the Lassen County Fire Safe Council, government agencies and residents can put together and implement projects that protect our communities and our planet.”