City given $115,000 grant to prevent fire | SteamboatToday.com

City given $115,000 grant to prevent fire

Christine Metz

The city of Steamboat Springs was awarded an $115,920 federal grant to help fight and prevent wildland fires.

The grant will be spread among the city’s fire suppression efforts, fire prevention program and GIS department. It will be used to take aerial photographs, to survey 200 structures that are susceptible to wildland fires and to educate homeowners on the national FIREWISE program.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, announced the award Sept. 19. The grant is part of the 2003 Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, which has distributed close to $270 million to more than 4,000 fire departments this year.

Assistant Fire Chief Bob Struble, who will oversee the grant, said the money would allow the fire department to update its maps on where structures are in the city limits and Steamboat Springs Rural Fire Protection District.

The second part of the process would be surveying 200 structures that have the potential of coming into contact with a wildland fire. Those surveys will collect data on the structures and the information will be entered into the city’s Geographic Information System.

The information will be shared with other agencies and can be used for fighting wildfires, structure fires and normal emergency calls in the city and district.

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“It is a huge help when we know where all the structures are at,” Struble said. “If we put them on a map, if we ever happen to have a situation with a wildland fire, it helps with locating most or all of (the homes).”

The grant also will allow the fire department to help educate homeowners with vulnerable properties. As part of the national FIREWISE fire prevention program, the grant will help homeowners develop strategies to reduce fire hazards, perform cost benefit analysis for fuel mitigation work and provide recommendations for how homeowners can mitigate risks around their homes.

There will be meetings with homeowners, Struble said, as the grant is implemented.

Struble said the nearby wildfires in 2003 and a grant FEMA awarded to Colorado Springs last year prompted the city to apply for a similar fire prevention grant this year.

The city has one year to use the grant, which comes with a guarantee the city will leverage its own money.

Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said this was the fourth largest grant award the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program has given to Colorado. About 50 fire departments across the state shared the $2.47 million the federal government doled out to Colorado.