News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Linn keeps funding fire-hardening program

Linn County has extended the funding it has authorized for grants to Santiam Canyon property owners looking to fire-harden their homes after the 2020 wildfires.

This will be the second year of the program, which spent $123,350 last year assisting 31 homeowners with the average check at $3,979, said Steve Wills, the lead planning and building official for Linn County.

The grant money is used to help property owners purchase and install fire-resistant building materials. The home must have been damaged in the Labor Day blazes.

The new funds, approved June 27 by the county Board of Commissioners, authorize $160,000 for the 2023-24 fiscal year. The money comes from the state, Wills said, with the program scheduled to run through Dec. 31, 2025. The maximum amount that can be awarded to a single homeowner is $6,800.

“There is more money out there if we hit that $160,000 amount,” Wills said. “We can ask for more and then it is up to the state.”

To apply for a grant go to https://www.oregon.gov/bcd/pages/firehardening.aspx and clink on the Linn County tab. This program only applies to those whose homes are in Linn County.

Fire hardening, according to grant application materials supplied by the Department of Consumer and Business Services, includes steps that can be taken to make a home or business more resistant to damage from a wildfire, such as using materials for siding and/or roofing that resist ignition, installing fire-resistant windows to protect openings, or using attic ventilation devices that help keep out embers.

Fire hardening, along with creating defensible space by trimming back vegetation, decreases the likelihood that a nearby fire will ignite your structure and reduces the potential for damage.

Fire hardening can make the community more resistant to the spread of wildfire. By slowing down a fire, it may create additional time and opportunity for emergency responders to protect life and property threatened by the fire.

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