Here are a few (okay, a whole bunch) questions and answers about the Firesmart program. If you have a question that’s not answered here, send it to us using our contact form here.
Q: What is the purpose of the Firesmart program in the Bighorn Basin?
A: To make rural homes, cabins, and property defensible in a wildfire.
Q: What is Firesmart?
A: A program of activities that will make your home/cabin better able to survive wildfires. Having a “defensible space” around the structure is a key.
Q: Who qualifies for the program?
A: “Wildland” homes, cabins, and property in a wildland urban interface (WUI) identified in your county’s wildfire protection plan (CWPP).
Q: What are the parts of the program?
A: Three things:
- A mitigation plan prepared by the county Firesmart coordinator.
- Mitigation fuel treatments around your home/cabin and road access.
- Homeowner correction of structural and housekeeping issues that are part of the wildfire mitigation plan, but not related to surrounding fuels.
Q: Who pays for the mitigation plan?
A: The State of Wyoming, with National Fire Plan dollars, regardless of land ownership.
Q: Who pays for the Firesmart fuel treatments?
A: The homeowner/property owner’s share is 50%, with a 50% state reimbursement from the National Fire Plan.
Q: Do all mountain cabins qualify for fuels treatment reimbursement?
A: Cabins on private land do qualify for fuels treatment reimbursement, if they have an approved wildfire mitigation plan. Cabins on federal land leases do not qualify for fuels treatment funding, but are eligible for wildfire mitigation plans.
Q: Is the cost-share program just for fuels treatments?
A: Yes, including slash treatment from fuels reduction projects.
Q: What is covered under the description of “fuels treatment?”
A: Tree and shrub thinning and pruning, brush removal, slash piling, and slash removal.
Q: How many acres of fuel treatment is covered for each home?
A: All acreage within 100 feet of any structures. The county Firesmart coordinator may increase that in special circumstances, such as steep slopes or other factors that contribute to extreme wildfire threat.
Q: What if there are no structures on my property?
A: We can prepare a plan for any property needing fuels reduction, and funding may be available for fuels treatment on these areas.
Q: What if fuels treatments create marketable products?
A: The value is subtracted from the reimbursed amount.
Q: What happens to the slash and brush debris?
A: It belongs to the owner. Timely disposal is funded by the program.
Q: How much is authorized?
A: Matching funds of up to $2,100 for each homesite (total maximum project cost of $4,200 with landowner paying half). There is no specified limit for larger sites, though up to $1,800 per acre for fuel break treatments, and up to $1,600 per acre for fuels treatment are typical costs, with half reimbursable to the landowner.
Q: How is the payment made?
A: The homeowner hires and pays a contractor, and submits a detailed invoice (with receipts) to the county Firesmart Coordinator, Chris Weydeveld (Technical Forestry Services, LLC), when the work is done. Click here to download a PDF you can use to keep track of expenses.
Q: What if the property owner can do some of the work themselves?
A: In-kind work can be done as part of the homeowner’s share. A “land-owner tracking form,” available from the Firesmart Coordinator, can be used to track time and expenses.
Q: Can the whole job be done by the homeowner, with reimbursement?
A: Yes, the landowner can do the work as in-kind. Landowner will receive a cash reimbursement for one-half of the total cost of the project.
Q: How is in-kind tallied by the property owner?
A: Rates are set by the program, and hours are reported on the project invoice. Click here to download a PDF of the current tracking and rate sheet, which you can use to keep track of your expenses.
Q: Who can do the contract work? Are there specific permitted contractors?
A: Any contractor who meets local requirements.
Q: How long will reimbursement take?
A: Six weeks to two months (an estimate).
Q: Who maintains and pays for keeping the fuels Firesmart on my land after the project is completed and payments are made?
A: Maintaining fuel conditions is the property owner’s responsibility.
Q: When can my evaluation and plan done get done?
A: Usually within two weeks, if requested during the field season.
Q: Does the property owner need to be present for the evaluation?
A: No, but it can be very beneficial.