Firewise Q & A

Frequently Asked Questions:

1.  I live inside the city, am I eligible for funding?

Unfortunately, no. This program is only offered to residents living outside of the Eugene-Springfield Urban Growth Boundary or outside of the city limits of any other incorporated city in the County.  A map depicting the program coverage areas can be viewed by clicking  here.

2.  How much money can I qualify for?

You only qualify for funding after staff conducts a initial site visit to determine if/what incentives you qualify for. Funding depends on the conditions at your property and the improvements that you are interested in pursuing. After you submit an application, and if you are selected to receive the grant, staff will schedule site visit to determine which items you may qualify for. A maximum of $15,500 may be available per residence, per year. Lane County Firewise Grant Incentive Program does not reimburse for any work completed prior to fully authorizing the grant application.

3. Do I need to pay up front?
Yes. Once you have been fully authorized by the County to begin your grant application process, you will be responsible for completing all of the grant incentives you are interested in pursuing. This includes hiring and paying for licensed contractors, ensuring the contractors write the invoices stating the services provided, keeping detailed receipts for any materials purchased, and ensuring the requirements of the grant are adhered to. It is best practice to get at least 3 different bids from contractors to ensure you are getting a fair price.

4. Where does funding for this program come from?

Funding is provided through Title III of the Federal Secure Rural Schools (SRS) Program– Section 601 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. This legislation narrowly restricts how counties may use Title III funding. In general, the money must be expended on programs that will have a benefit to Federal forestlands. The types of activities promoted through the county incentive program closely follow the guidelines of the National Firewise Communities Program , which is an allowable use specified in the SRS legislation.

5.   How long will funding be available?

Funding for the program is awarded on annual basis. Each year, beginning on or after July 1, the County will begin awarding grants to qualifying residents. When funding for a given year has been obligated, the County will stop accepting applications until the following summer.

6.  How long will the program last?

The program is limited in duration and will be ongoing until further notice.

7. How do I stay informed about future grant openings?
You are welcome to sign up for the Lane County Firewise Grant Program email newsletter. This email newsletter sends minimal updates related to our programming, including when future grant cycles open up.

8. A condition of my grant award is that my home needs to have a “defensible space”.  Do I need to hire a licensed landscaper/contractor to do this?

Not always. You need to establish or have existing defensible space in order to qualify for any grant incentives. You may do this work yourself without reimbursement, or have a licensed contractor do the work. If you choose to work on your own property, please note that the County is not responsible or liable for any injury, damage, or other items. The County only provides reimbursement upon receipt of a paid-in-full invoice received from a licensed contractor, so you will not be reimbursed for any work you do yourself. If you do not specifically request funding for defensible space work, but must meet to the defensible space requirement in order to qualify for funding for other types of improvements, you may do the work yourself.

7.  I’m requesting funding for low fire-risk plants. Do I need a licensed landscaper to plant them for me?

No. The County only reimburses for materials for this incentive, never for labor. Plants purchased through this program may be planted by the homeowner. A licensed landscaper or contractor is only required for the grant incentives stating so.

8.  What type of license does my landscaper need in order to be reimbursed?

Oregon Law requires that anyone in the state who advertises, operates as, or uses the title of a landscape contractor or landscape business, to be licensed with the Landscape Contractors Board (LCB). A landscape contractor is defined as someone who plans and installs lawns, shrubs, vines, trees and other decorative vegetation including the preparation of the property on which the vegetation is to be installed. A landscape contractor may also construct water features, drainage and irrigation systems, plan and install fences, decks, walkways and retaining walls in conjunction with landscape projects.

All landscaping work reimbursable through this program must be conducted by a LCB or CCB licensed professional. Additionally, if your work requires tree removal your landscaper should also carry a license issued by from the Construction Contractors Board (CCB). It is best practice to hire an arborist for any significant tree limbing to ensure optimal tree health.  

9. What type of license does my contractor need?

Any contractors doing roofing work or installing siding, widows or doors that will be reimbursed through this program must carry a valid license issued by from the Construction Contractors Board (commonly referred to as a CCB license).

10. How do I know if my contactor is licensed?
The State of Oregon has websites where you can check the status of LCB or CCB licenses or you can contact Lane County Firewise Staff and they can check for you.

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