First-of-their-Kind Grants Support Tribal-led Wildfire Resilience Projects


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: $19 million in Tribal Wildfire Resilience Grants will support traditional ecological knowledge to advance wildfire safety in tribal communities. Developed in partnership with tribes, these grants focus on areas most impacted by catastrophic fires.

SACRAMENTO – Today Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state has awarded $19 million for 13 projects as part of the nation-leading Tribal Wildfire Resilience Grant Program launched earlier this month. This funding supports California Native American tribes in managing ancestral lands, employing traditional ecological knowledge in wildfire resilience, and improving wildfire safety for tribal and surrounding communities.

“In the last four years, California has seen fires at a scale and frequency like never before. Tribes have sustainably managed California lands since time immemorial, and the state is reinvesting in those tried and true practices – and these awards further our commitment to tribes and pay due respect to their deep understanding of and relationship with the land. Together, we are building a healthier California, for the land and all its people – especially its original stewards.” – Governor Gavin Newsom

Developed in partnership with tribes to best meet the needs of their governments and communities, the Tribal Wildfire Resilience Grant Program supports wildfire resilience goals shared by all of California – with a focus on areas most impacted by catastrophic fires and areas that will most benefit from tribal partnership and the additional wildfire management that comes from that.

“The ongoing engagement of tribes advocating for their interests continues to translate into real dollars to address long-standing issues in California Indian Country,” said Tribal Affairs Secretary Christina Snider-Ashtari. “We will continue to advocate for and support investments like the Tribal Wildfire Resilience Grants to bolster sound, sustainable, and tribally-led initiatives while increasing public safety and climate resilience across the state.”

Projects that will receive funding from the grants include ongoing fuels reduction projects on tribal lands, recruitment and training of tribal youth and conservation staff, and the improvement of access to and quality of traditional food and basketry materials. These projects support the promotion and innovation of tribal expertise and science to build capacity and improve wildfire resilience throughout tribal ancestral lands.

“This is a huge step forward to support tribal leadership to protect and heal our environment,” said California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot. “Tribal wildfire management practices have protected communities and landscapes for thousands of years. This first-of-its-kind funding will help restore and expand these tribal practices, which we are learning from and expanding upon within our state agencies.”

Tribal Wildfire Resilience Grants are administered by CAL FIRE’s Forest Health Program, which funds active restoration and reforestation activities aimed at providing for more resilient and sustainable forests to help mitigate climate change, protect communities from fire risk, strengthen rural economies, and more. Additional funding is available for subsequent rounds of Tribal Wildfire Resilience Grants. Solicitations are expected to open in December 2023 with another round of funding expected in 2024.

“On behalf of the Cahuilla Band of Indians, I extend our deep gratitude to Governor Newsom and the State of California for recognizing and supporting our commitment to wildfire resiliency,” said Daniel Salgado, Tribal Council Chairman Cahuilla Band of Indians. “This Tribal Wildfire Resilience grant will empower our community to enhance safety, preserve our cherished traditions, and promote sustainable growth. Our shared vision for a safer, more resilient community begins today, and we are honored to walk this path alongside the great State of California.”

These wildfire resilience grants are part of the $2.7 billion investment through the Governor’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience plan.

These grants also build on the state’s historic $101 million Tribal Nature-Based Solutions Program to support tribal initiatives that advance the well-being of their communities and help achieve California’s world-leading climate and conservation goals. This funding can be used for community and workforce development initiatives, and for the purchase of land.