PG&E Awards Fire Safety Grants

Written by Estero Bay News

January 27, 2023


ear the end of 2022, Pacific Gas & Electric awarded several grants to “Fire Safe Councils” to bolster their efforts to cut down the danger of wildfires, the company said in a news release. And one grant came to the FSC in SLO County.

According to a news release, FSCs are, “critical to strengthening the safety and preparedness of local communities in areas of extreme fire risk.”

PG&E awarded a total of $250,000 to eight FSCs in the company’s service area of Central and Northern California, supporting a total of 10 projects. 

Among the grantees is the San Luis Obispo County Fire Safety Council, which got $25,000 for something called the “Marsh Road Project.”

Peter Kenny, PG&E’s Senior Vice President of Vegetation Management and System Inspections, said, “We are working every day with our customers and communities to manage trees and other vegetation located near power lines and equipment that could cause a wildfire or power outage. But we can’t do it alone.

“That’s why our long-standing partnership with local Fire Safe Councils, and our shared goal of keeping our communities safe, is essential.” 

Since 2014 PG&E has paid out a total of $17 million in fire safety grants.

A typical FSC project would include reducing fuel, creating fuel breaks, and removing dead and dying trees to improve fire evacuation routes and emergency access roads in High Fire Threat District areas. such as the Marsh Road project in rural Cayucos.

Dan Turner, the executive director of the SLO County FSC, said, “This PG&E grant was combined with other funds to expand the scope of the Marsh Road Project. Marsh Road is a rural, residential, single access/dead end road serving several residences. 

“Lightning-caused fires occurred on both sides of the Marsh Road neighborhood raising significant safety concerns of residents since there is only one way out, which is a major evacuation problem.” 

Turner said the grant is helping ease concerns of the neighborhood. “Neighbors were worried about escape routes,” Turner said, “and PG&E stepped up to allow us to expand this project to include Falling Star Lane.” 

Photos PG&E sent out with its news release show before and after looks at Marsh Road, which is a narrow country lane overgrown with trees and brush that used to grow right up next to the road.

The Marsh Road Project cleared out that brush and debris well back from the road.

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