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Rossmoor to benefit from wildfire prevention grant

ConFire awarded $3.1 million for shaded fuel break in Walnut Creek, Lafayette

By Craig Lazzeretti

Assistant managing editor

(Friday, June 3): The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District has been awarded a $3.1 million wildfire prevention grant that was enthusiastically supported by GRF officials for its potential to help protect Rossmoor.

The grant from Cal Fire will go toward creating a shaded fuel break in the Lafayette and Walnut Creek region that “will significantly reduce the threat of uncontrolled wildfire and associated greenhouse gas emissions,” according to the project description. Work on the project is expected to begin in about four months, with completion expected in 2024, ConFire said in a news release.

“The Rossmoor community is thrilled that Contra Costa County Fire Protection District has received this $3 million grant,” GRF CEO Tim O’Keefe said. “A significant portion of the work will protect the Golden Rain Foundation and the Mutual homeowners associations from elevated risk of wildfire in these natural areas.”

The project area will encompass 194 acres along some 11 miles of open space and is designed to protect residents from a wildfire approaching from open space to the south, ConFire said. The grant was among $118 million in funding for 144 local wildfire prevention projects across the state.

“The construction of this fire break …  will allow us to immediately reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires in Rossmoor and Lafayette communities such as we have seen around the state in recent years,” ConFire Chief Lewis Broschard said.

Added county Supervisor Candace Andersen: “Both (Rossmoor and Lafayette) are vulnerable to wildfires, have limited evacuation routes, and this grant will provide one added measure of safety.”

The GRF Board in February formally supported the grant application, saying it would improve wildfire safety in Rossmoor.