This week, CAL FIRE’s Wood Products and Bioenergy Team awarded $14 million in new grants.
Several projects were awarded to both Lassen and Plumas county businesses to increase the state’s ability to establish healthy, resilient forests through workforce and business development.
Mt. Lassen Power Inc. was awarded 1.5 million for restarting the biomass-to-energy facility in Westwood. Those funds will be used for a feedstock drying shed that will protect wood chips support boiler efficiency, decrease fuel costs, and meet air permit requirements. The plant will facilitate forest treatments on 8,000 acres annually, contributing to the recovery of the state’s single-largest fire in history and creating 20 jobs.
In Plumas county, J&C Lumber Inc has received 450 thousand dollars for expanding its Community-Run Sawmill. The mill birthed from wildfire recovery in Plumas will purchase new, automated equipment to help produce large specialty timbers. The expanded facility will generate nearly 3 million board feet of lumber annually, speeding up post-fire recovery work. The large timbers manufactured by J&C Lumber will be incorporated into fire-resilient post-and-beam timber frame construction currently planned to rebuild businesses and homes lost in Greenville.
Additionally, over 70,000 dollars was awarded to The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment Northern Sierra Nevada and Southern Cascades Native Plant Propagation Capacity Development. The funding will support the much-needed propagation of native plant material for restoration work. The proposed additionality as a result of funding will be a 20-foot by 20-foot wooden lath shade house built on the Sierra Institute-owned Wood Products Campus in Crescent Mills, CA, to facilitate the propagation of 3,000 native plants annually for restoration work at Lassen Volcanic National Park (LAVO) that had over 60% of its lands burned in the Dixie Fire.
Lastly, Chico State Enterprises Higher Education Prescribe Fire Training received 1.2 million to continue forest floor clearing, benefitting both Butte and Plumas counties. Chico State Enterprises and Feather River College will build both programs already established prescribed fire training partnership to design and implement the Higher Education Prescribed Fire Training (HEFT) program, which will result in a trained, professional, and accessible workforce for private and public land managers pursuing prescribed fire projects throughout Northern California. The HEFT program will provide over 200 federally recognized certifications through National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) standards to over 60 participants over three years. This effort increases the ability to perform more prescribed fire projects across California.