Continued clearing of the Hulls Gulch Reserve area is one of the first ways the city of Boise will use a new grant from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, said Jerry McAdams, wildfire mitigation coordinator for the Boise Fire Department.
The city started the effort about five years ago with money from the Southwest Idaho Resource Conservation and Development Council, a nonprofit that helps the private and public sectors manage natural resources, McAdams said. Boise will still try to get money from the council, McAdams said, but it likely would use that money for other initiatives while the BLM grant money is coming in.
The Boise City Council approved an initiative Tuesday night that enables the city to receive up to $500,000 over the next five years from the BLM to reduce fuels in the wildland-urban interface — such as the Hulls Gulch area — around the city.
Typically, this kind of grant is spent on thinning, mowing, cutting and otherwise removing especially flammable plants, such as cheatgrass, an invasive species that originated in Europe, said Mike Williamson, a spokesman for the BLM.
The idea is to make sure fires don’t spread between the wild lands and developed areas. Boise’s sudden and wide interface between these two types of land is unusual, though not unique.
Williamson said the grant is one of many ways in which the BLM partners with cities and counties around the country to reduce wildfire risk.
The city can spend the money in a variety of ways, including equipment and other materials, labor and private contractors, as long as it’s used directly to reduce fuels in the wildland-urban interface, Williamson said. It can also plant grasses and other plants that are more fire resistant than cheat grass and other species in the interface.
McAdams said Boise likely will continue a popular chipping program, in which residents on the verge of wild lands remove plants that pose fire risks and place them at the curb, where city crews grind them in a chipper and haul the chips away.
Otherwise, the city will continually look for the most effective ways to use the BLM money.
Initially, Boise will receive $92,582 from the BLM. The grant period for this year runs through Nov. 30, at which point BLM can disburse another installment.
Boise Fire, Idaho Firewise officials to host seminar for landscapers
Jerry McAdams, a wildfire specialist for the city of Boise, and Brett Van Paepeghem, a manager for wildfire education and prevention group Idaho Firewise, will lead a seminar next week aimed at preparing landscapers to help homeowners on the edge of cities make their properties more fire-resistant.
The seminar is part of the Idaho Horticulture Expo, which runs from Wednesday to Friday next week. McAdams’ and Van Paepeghem’s presentation, “Arboring a Fugitive,” is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. on Wednesday at Boise Centre, 850 W. Front St., in Boise.