Group gets $100,000 for valley fireproofing

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Photo by Will Castagna

Concerned Rescue and Environmental Workers (C.R.E.W.) gather for a morning briefing before beginning fire safety work in Matilija Canyon recently.

Andra Belknap, Ojai Valley News reporter

The Ojai Valley Fire Safe Council received a $100,000 grant from the California Fire Safe Council (CFSC) to continue its work of keeping the Ojai Valley safe from wildfire.

“California’s continuing drought has posed a critical wildfire threat statewide,” said CFSC Executive Director Stephen Gort, who helped select Ojai's application from a pool of more than 50.

“It used to be there was something called fire season, and now, it's here all the time,” said Will Castagna, grants manager for the Ojai Valley Fire Safe Council. “We're constantly at risk because everything has gotten so dry and the weather has gotten hotter. It's a pretty high-risk situation.”

Ojai has been listed as in “critical” danger for wildfire since late June, according to a Ventura County Fire Department (VCFD) report.

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