For Immediate Release
Board of Supervisors approves $360,000 contract for wildfire structural hardening assessments
SANTA ROSA, CA | September 13, 2022
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted today to approve a $361,034 contract with Wildfire Defense Works to provide structural hardening assessments in pre-identified project locations throughout the county. Wildfire Defense Works will perform between 250 to 1,000 structural hardening assessments for Permit Sonoma’s Wildfire Adapted program. The contract is a portion of the $2.6 million in grant funding received by the county as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
The Wildfire Adapted grant funds will go toward a community-scaled, house-outward wildfire mitigation approach, educating residents about the benefits of defensible space and structural retrofit strategies that could reduce the fire risk to structures. The grant program will also provide cost-sharing incentives to assist property owners in completing projects identified through assessments.
After a competitive bidding process, Napa-based Wildfire Defense Works was awarded a contract to perform up to 1,000 of the structural hardening assessments. Permit Sonoma staff will use a combination of fire inspectors from the Fire Prevention Division of Permit Sonoma and Wildfire Defense Works contractors to complete the 1,650 assessments required by the grants.
The structural hardening assessments are a voluntary activity for residents within the project area footprint, provided at no cost to the resident. See a map of the project area here.
When property owners within the project area sign up to receive a free structural hardening assessment. Permit Sonoma staff will contact property owners within the project areas in the fall of 2022 through US mail and email, and via local groups such as Fire Safe Councils, which will invite residents to sign up.
The assessments will offer homeowners critical information about elements of their structures that are vulnerable to wildfire ignition.
In addition to structural hardening, the program provides defensible space assessments to address vegetation within 100 feet of structures. Defensible space assessments are performed by the Fire Prevention Division on all improved and unimproved parcels within the project area. To date, assessors have completed more than 5,000 defensible space assessments and will begin the final 2,000 within the coming weeks.
The assessments for structure and defensible space represent the first phase of the Wildfire Adapted program. The second phase, slated for late 2023 or early 2024 depending on FEMA funding, will include providing incentives for structural hardening and vegetation management projects, reimbursing 75 percent of project costs up to $7,000 and $3,700 respectively.
To learn more about the Wildfire Adapted Sonoma County grant projects, please visit the project website at SoCoAdapts.org.
If you live in the project footprint and would like to opt-in for a free structural hardening assessment, contact the project team by email at WildfireAdapted@sonoma-county.org or call (707) 565-8575.