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EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif (KTXL) — The El Dorado County Fire Safe Council is launching a cost-free program to help prepare senior citizens, veterans and low-income residents for wildfire season. 

Submissions are now open for the 2022 Defensible Space Assistance Program which provides services of wildfire preparedness, including developing a defensible space around a home in El Dorado County. 

Once an application is received, EDCFSC said it will conduct on-site evaluation and a contractor will be scheduled to create a defensible space around the home. 

The defensible space is meant to improve the chance of survival of a resident’s home during a fire, the EDCFSC said in a press release. 

The EDCFSC said submissions are on a first come first served basis. The target area of the program includes residents in El Dorado Hills, Cameron Park, Diamond Springs, Placerville, Pollock Pines, Auburn Lake Trails, Georgetown, Camino and Grizzly Flats. 

A large portion of the county is in fire threat areas and has suffered through one of the state’s largest wildfires last year: the Caldor Fire.

The Caldor Fire burned and destroyed more than 221,000 acres and 780 structures in El Dorado, Amador and Alpine counties. The fire lasted for 70 days from August to October in 2021. 

According to the EDCFSC, these are the services included in the free program.

  • Removing all dry and flammable vegetation within five feet of home structures
  • Removing branches, weeds, dead grasses and more within 30 feet of structures to the property line
  • Eliminating vegetation limbs and small trees from around ground level porches and decks
  • Making roads and driveways accessible, and offering other preventive measures

Veterans (or a veteran’s widow), senior citizens over the age of 60 and low-income residents must meet certain eligibility requirements for the cost-free program. 

According to the EDCFSC, a veteran or a veteran’s widow must provide a copy of a DD214 form (certificate of release or discharge from active duty) and an El Dorado veteran ID card or military department ID must be shown during an on-site evaluation. 

Seniors must show proof of their age during an on-site evaluation and low-income residents must make a certain amount of money annually to be eligible. 

For low-income residents, here are the annual income limits required to be eligible:

  • One person = $31,950
  • Two people = $36,540
  • Three people = $41,000
  • Four people = $45, 660

The EDCFSC said all applicants have to be financially and physically unable to develop defensible space around their home.