The Valley Fire jumped Japatul Road in many areas in the
The Valley Fire jumped Japatul Road in many areas in the Cleveland National Forest. Photo by Chris Stone

The Cleveland National Forest was awarded a $3 million grant to prepare for wildfires by reducing fuels, widening roads and installing underground water tanks, authorities said Friday.

The San Diego River Conservancy authorized the Wildlife Early Action Plan after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 85 providing additional funding for wildfire and forest resilience efforts. The Conservancy was allocated $12 million.

The Cleveland National Forest will use its grant to reduce fuel on 1, 485 acres of public land and 26.5 miles of roads, build a helicopter landing zone and construct three 10,000-gallon underground water tanks in the headwaters of the San Diego and Tijuana River watersheds.

“We will be strengthening fire resiliency by increasing fuel reduction treatments, including forest health improvements, improving the safety of fire access roads, installing a remote water source and helicopter access for firefighting and rescues, providing more public outreach to support and encourage home-hardening in the wildland urban interface,” Cleveland National Forest Supervisor Scott Tangenberg said.

The projects could begin this fall, officials said.

-City News Service