In the spring of 2009 a grant opportunity was available to provide communities with funding to reduce the fuels on private properties and to complement US Forest Service projects by widening and extending the fuel break into the community.
Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction was successful in securing multiple 90/10 grants to accomplish reducing the fuel load on private properties. By using one of these grants, 90% of the cost of treatment was paid through grant funds while the property owner was responsible for supplying the remaining 10% of the cost.
Several large parcels of private land within both Pine and Strawberry, each from 40 – 200 acres, located in steep mountainous terrain filled with diseased and overcrowded trees and vegetation, were identified. These parcels directly adjoin the fuel break and diminished its effectiveness at strategic points. One of these undeveloped and overgrown parcels nearly provided entrance for the Cave Creek Complex Fire and the others had that same potential. Fuels reduction on these properties was vital in reducing the overall fire threat to the community.
In addition to the large parcels of property, many homes existed on smaller lots that were overgrown to the point of presenting a wildfire danger to neighbors and the community as a whole. Those lots were identified and treated with an eye toward treating several adjoining properties, if possible, resulting in smaller fuel breaks throughout the community.
As a result of these 90/10 hazard fuels grants, over the course of three years PSFR was able to successfully thin and treat more than 500 acres of private property in town.