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?

It depends on the conditions at your property and the improvements that you are interested in pursuing. After you submit an application, staff will schedule a site visit to examine your property and determine which items you may qualify for. A maximum of $15,500 is available per residence, per year.

3.  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.

4.   How long will funding be available?

Funding for the program is awarded on annual basis. Each year, beginning on 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.

5.  How long will the program last?

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

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

Not always. The County provides grant funding for defensible space work. To qualify for this funding you will need to provide the county a bill from a licensed landscaping professional.  However, as a standard condition to receive funding for other structural improvements (such as a new roof, siding, windows, etc.) you must establish, or demonstrate that you already have, a suitable defensible space in place. To meet this requirement you do not need to hire a professional landscaper. In other words, if you do not specifically request funding for defensible space work but must meet to the defensible space requirement to qualify for funding for other types of improvements, you may do the work yourself.

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

No. Fire resistant plants purchased through this program may be planted by the homeowner. A licensed landscaper or contractor is only required for reimbursable defensible space work that involves tree trimming, brush removal and chipping and irrigation system installation.

8.  What type of license does my landscaper need?

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).

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.