Boulder County is proud to announce its 26th year of providing financial assistance to support community chipping events. In 2018, we have made significant changes to the program requirements and forms. If you have applied for funding in the past, please review these new rules and forms carefully. You will not be able to replicate what you have done in past years. We have made these changes to reduce the paperwork required from project coordinators and to improve the effectiveness of wildfire mitigation efforts undertaken by homeowners.
Application Deadline and Submission Instructions
The application deadline is March 26, 2018. However, Boulder County will accept applications throughout the year and continue to make awards as long as funding is available. Apply using the online form.
May Wildfire Awareness Month
Boulder County is changing its Wildfire Awareness Month from October to May. To encourage communities to hold chipping events in May, applications that include a May event will receive priority for funding. In addition, we recommend applicants propose events for May 5, Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, visit the National Fire Protection Organization’s website to learn more.
Communities, community organizations, neighborhood groups, towns, homeowner associations, and fire protection districts in the mountains and foothills are eligible to apply. A minimum of five participating homes is required for an event.
Applicants do NOT need a valid tax identification number. Project coordinators are NOT required by Boulder County to collect payments, submit forms, obtain canceled checks, track volunteer time, or submit requests for reimbursement to hold a chipping event. Instead, Boulder County wants to help coordinators focus their energies on recruiting more homeowners to participate in their events. Coordinators may track project activities if they wish for their own records and needs.
Reimbursement and Chipping Contractors
To reduce paperwork requirements, applicants must use a Wildfire Partners Forestry Contractor to perform all their chipping. Wildfire Partners Forestry Contractors will invoice Boulder County for all eligible costs and the Boulder County will pay the contractor directly. The contractor will also collect the appropriate payment from each homeowner directly. As a result, Boulder County will no longer be sending reimbursement checks to project coordinators. (Project coordinators should obtain a copy of the invoices contractors submit to Boulder County as they will include the addresses of all participating homeowners along with the amount of time contractors spend chipping at each property.) Under these new rules, one of the most important tasks in preparing a community chipping program application is selecting your forestry contractor. The 2018 Wildfire Partners Forestry Contractor List is available at www.WildfirePartners.org.
Eligible Projects and Expenses
The Boulder County Community Chipping Program will only fund community roadside chipping events in 2018. It will not fund Saws and Slaws type events or central collection events. Wildfire Partners has separate funding mechanisms to support some of these efforts. Funding is only available for direct costs to chip material and transport chips to a Community Forestry Sort Yard or other location. Funding is not available for tree cutting, transporting slash, or dragging slash to the side of the road. (Please note that, as in past years, contractors will not chip any material that is not properly staged. Coordinators are responsible for obtaining proper instructions from their contractor and distributing them to participating homeowners prior to their events.)
Funding and Cost Sharing
In past years, applicants could request up to $ 4,000. In 2018, there is no funding limit. Traditionally, Boulder County reimbursed 50% of chipping costs and homeowners paid the other half of these costs. With the advent of Saws and Slaws, projects judged to have a strong volunteer component were allowed to count volunteer hours toward their 50% contribution. For 2018, volunteer hours cannot be counted towards a community’s or homeowner’s cost share. The Wildfire Partners Forestry Contractor will invoice the homeowner and Boulder County separately for each property according to the following breakdowns:
- Boulder County will pay 100% of costs for the first two hours of chipping (the hourly chipping rate will include the transportation and disposal of chips). The Wildfire Partners participant will pay 100% of the costs greater than two hours.
Homeowners who have not completed a Wildfire Partners assessment before the community chipping event registration deadline:
- The homeowner pays 75% of the total chipping and transportation cost and Boulder County pays the remaining 25% of these total costs. (There are no time limits applied for this option.)
Community chipping projects are a great way to introduce homeowners to wildfire mitigation. However, they are not enough to ensure that residents are prepared for future wildfires. Boulder County believes all homeowners in the foothills and mountains—especially those receiving assistance from the community chipping program—should join Wildfire Partners and receive a comprehensive assessment that identifies their specific vulnerabilities to wildfire and the corresponding mitigation measures to reduce their risk. The information and education homeowners receive from Wildfire Partners is extremely valuable and should not be missed.
Boulder County has funded every application it has received in the last four years. If funding is limited, we will prioritize projects that are:
- low cost
- take place in May
- serve communities that have not received funding in the past
- take place in a Firewise Community, and/or
- come from communities that are formal program partners in Wildfire Partners (see website) and/or project coordinators who are participants in Wildfire Partners.
For more information, call 720-564-2600 or email Jim Webster.