Dry brush
Dry, flammable brush is visible throughout North Chollas Community Park. File photo by Zoë Meyers/inewsource

Urban Corps of San Diego County was awarded two grants totaling more than $673,000 from the California State Coastal Conservancy for fire fuel reduction activities in Chula Vista and seven San Diego County preserves, it was announced Monday.

Additionally, Urban Corps was awarded $83,055 from the California Fire Safe Council to continue fire fuel reduction work near homes in Chula Vista.

The grants allow Urban Corps to hire young adults from San Diego County, who will earn an income protecting areas of the county from wildfires while studying for their high school diploma, according to Kyle Kennedy, CEO of Urban Corps.

“Our teams work across San Diego County, often under extremely difficult conditions, to keep homeowners, businesses and our communities safe from wildfires,” he said. “With California’s fire season continuing to worsen, the focus will be on dangerous build-up of brush that put our community at risk. Our students and staff will do everything they can to improve wildfire safety and protect our county.”

As a certified local conservation corps, Urban Corps’ mission is to” provide historically underserved and disenfranchised young adults between the ages of 18 and 26 the opportunity to earn a high school diploma — as opposed to a GED or a certification — while offering them paid job training on a variety of projects that heavily benefit the community,” according to the organization’s mission statement.

The program is intended to provide access to education, paid skills training, case management support, career counseling and job placement opportunities.

Last fiscal year, Urban Corps cleared more than 1,000 acres of flammable overgrowth and since July has already removed a total of 45 acres worth of fire prone brush in Chula Vista, San Diego, Alpine, City Heights, Lakeside and Escondido.

Those interested in earning their high school diploma while receiving paid job training can go to urbancorpssd.org/join to apply.

–City News Service