It is important that landowners in the Spokane area can prevent catastrophic wildfire damage to homes and property by using Firewise principles. Spokane County residents are eligible to get a free Firewise Risk Assessment to evaluate your home’s risk.
A District Forester will visit your property for approximately one hour and will provide you with a list of practical ways to lessen your wildfire risk. The most important element to lowering your wildfire risk is the effective use of defensible space.
Defensible space is the area between your home and an oncoming wildfire where the vegetation has been modified to reduce the wildfire threat and to provide an opportunity for firefighters to effectively defend your home. The exact size of your defensible space varies by slope and type of vegetation and will be determined during the assessment.
To schedule a Firewise risk assessment of your home site, or if you have questions about protecting your home from a wildfire, contact Ben Peterson at email@example.com or click here to fill out a request for visit form.
Hazard Fuel Reduction
The Spokane region has long been an area where fire played a prominent role in the natural environment. It’s not a matter of if a wildfire will occur; it’s a matter of when.
For those living in forested areas, there are many steps they can take to protect their property from wildfire and reduce the loss of harvestable timber in forests. A Hazard Fuel Reduction project will reduce the unnatural build-up of fuel in the forest. Fuels can be natural fuels, forest vegetation or debris, activity fuels, debris left over from thinning projects, and small trees or brush that have the potential to carry a ground fire up into the canopy.
As a result of your Firewise Risk Assessment, a hazard Fuels Reduction may be recommended. Cost-share is available through the SCD and its agency partners.
If you are interested in having a Hazard Fuel Reduction project on your property, or if you have any questions, contact Garth Davis. Garth-Davis@SpokaneCD.org
General tips for preventing wildfire damage:
- Avoid the use of shake roofs
- Remove all dead branches that are hanging over your roof
- Clean dead leaves and needles from your roof and gutters
- Keep all woodpiles at least 30′ away from all structures and clear all vegetation within 10′ of the woodpiles
- Minimize the use of ornamental conifers in your landscaping; emphasize the use of low-growing plants, such as groundcover and bedding plants
Experience and research have revealed that embers and small flames are the leading cause of home ignition in wildfires. Embers are burning pieces of airborne wood and/or vegetation that can be carried more than a mile through the wind and can cause spot fires and ignite homes, debris, and other objects.
The Home Ignition Zone Cost-Share Program is designed to help homeowners prepare for and minimize the risk of wildfire damage to their homes. SCD’s Home Ignition Zone program focuses specifically on the area within 0–5 feet from the home and/or structure and is limited to homeowners who live adjacent to forest land or other undeveloped, natural areas.
Our Free Assessments can take up to an hour and include:
- Basics of wildfire behavior and how homes ignite
- Important home ignition risks
- Easy steps to reduce the threat of unnecessary losses
- Firewise funding opportunities
Each Home Ignition Zone project will begin with a visit from an SCD Forester
The SCD Forester will perform an evaluation of wildfire hazard risks within the home ignition zone. During the HIZ contract development, all wildfire risks will be prioritized, and practices should be installed in the order of highest risk.
Need to Know Information
SCD provides 75% cost-share for projects up to $7,500 ($5,625 max district input). Homeowners are required to contribute 25% of the total project cost with cash or in-kind donations of labor, materials, or equipment.
Payment of Allowable Costs
SCD will pay only for allowable costs. A cost is allowable if it’s reasonable, necessary to complete the approved scope of work, documented adequately, and incurred during the period of performance set forth in the cost-share agreement. Costs outside the period of performance are not allowable. A cost is considered reasonable if the nature of the work or materials and the cost reflect what a prudent person would pay under the circumstances.
Donated Equipment or Tool Use
Donated equipment or tool use occurs when a third party donates the use of equipment or tools with a replacement value of $500 or more. The maximum rate allowable may not exceed the rental rate for comparable equipment or tools in the project area. Donated equipment or tool use does not include operator services.
Donated Materials and Supplies
Materials and supplies are considered donated when they are given to the project at no cost. The reported value of donated materials is the market value of the materials or supplies at the time used.
You Must Pay First
SCD pays all cost-share agreements through reimbursement. You may request reimbursement only after you’ve paid your contractors and vendors.
SCD Pays Promptly!
SCD is provided 30 days to pay a properly completed reimbursement invoice. In most cases, reimbursement requests are paid within 10 days of receipt. Properly completed invoices include all necessary documentation, signatures, and backup documents. Incomplete reimbursement requests won’t be paid until satisfactory documentation to support the request is provided.
Donated labor is time provided by a person without compensation. Labor donations are valued at an hourly rate of pay. The hourly rate for persons aged 18 and over is $22.00 per hour; if the person is 17 years of age or younger, the rate is the published Washington State minimum wage.
Donated Labor Documentation Records must be maintained to verify volunteer hours spent on a project. These records must include the following information:
• Individual’s name
• Contact information
• Dates of service
• Worksite or location name
• Description of work performed
• Hours worked
• Individual or crew leader signature and date
Your Information is Public
All information and documentation submitted to the SCD is subject to public review (Revised Code of Washington 42.56).
Does SCD pay upfront for work to be completed?
No, project costs will be reimbursed to the homeowner upon satisfactory completion of each practice or complete project.
Can more than one practice be installed per contract?
Yes, as long as all practices do not exceed a total project cost of $5,000.
Can a homeowner perform work to be completed in the cost-share agreement or hire a family to accomplish the work?
Yes, the homeowner may elect to hire a licensed contractor to perform the work or perform the work themselves. Labor provided by the homeowner, their family, or friends will be reimbursed using the guidance and rates described above under the heading, Donated Labor.
How long can it take to complete the work?
Projects must be completed by November 1st of the year they are initiated.
Ask Us a Question or Request Assistance
SCD is available to explore funding opportunities and financial aid programs that can support your conservation efforts. From grants and loans to cost-sharing programs, we can help you access the necessary resources to make your conservation projects a reality.
Do you have a resource concern? Tell us more here.