CAL FIRE NEWS RELEASE
CAL FIRE Funds Workforce and Business Development Projects
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) Wood Products and Bioenergy Team awarded $14 million in new grant agreements this week. These projects will increase California's capacity to establish healthy, resilient forests through workforce and business development.
The 10 new awards (link to awards list) will go to non-profits, family businesses, wood products manufacturing facilities, and county and local governments. These partners are building the infrastructure and capacity to sustainably manage California’s forests as outlined in California’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan. Since January, $54 million has been awarded through this new grant program. Projects are aligned with the State’s climate mitigation and economic development goals.
"As climate change puts a greater strain on our forestry and fire personnel, CAL FIRE's investment in our Program has helped us to increase wildfire personnel who were formerly incarcerated or from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds,” commented Cari Pang Chen, Bay Area Director of the Forestry and Fire Recruitment Program, a nonprofit that was awarded a workforce development grant earlier this year. “Our 2022 grant supports expansion to the Bay Area and deepens our work across the State in providing the necessary training and preparation for helping our participants transition successfully to forestry and fire careers with family-sustaining wages."
CAL FIRE’s Business and Workforce Development grant awards are funded with State of California General Funds. The solicitation remains open to new grant applications. Please visit CAL FIRE’s Wood Products and Bioenergy webpage for details.
Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) recognizes the need for a nursery that specializes in production of native conifer seedlings for restoration, research, and conservation projects. Current nursery capacity in the Western U.S is not nearly sufficient to fill the current need for seedlings for reforestation projects. SPI proposes to construct a nursery in Gazelle, CA, at the company's seed orchard that will help alleviate this deficit of production facilities. A local conifer nursery that is similar in size employs as many as 110 seasonal employees. This influx of jobs will benefit a small town in northern California. It is anticipated the annual production of seedlings at full capacity will be 25 million. However, full capacity is not expected to be met until the spring of 2026. The nursery will require a “ramping-up. The project anticipates the first crop sow will be approximately 6 million seedlings, and the second crop sow will be 12 million seedlings.