2012-09-13 / Front Page

Wildfire victims get help

Duck Lake fire property owners offered assistance

NEWBERRY – The Department of Natural Resources and the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency recently announced landowners affected by the Duck Lake Fire in Luce County can now sign up for the Emergency Forest Restoration Program. The EFRP application period will run from Sept. 10 through Oct. 9.

The EFRP is a cost-share assistance program that provides payments to eligible owners of nonindustrial private forest land to help restore land damaged by a natural disaster – in this case, wildfire. Eligible landowners may receive financial assistance of up to 75 percent of the cost to implement approved restoration practices, as determined by the FSA.

“This program will help Luce County landowners begin the process of restoring their forest lands to the healthy and viable levels they were prior to the Duck Lake Fire,” said Bill O’Neill, chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. “To ensure eligible residents get the most funding possible, the DNR is encouraging landowners to work with our qualified consulting forester to develop a forest land management plan that will best benefit their needs.”

To qualify, a DNR forester will visit an applicant’s property to evaluate the conditions and determine eligibility for program practices – work that can be cost-shared through the EFRP. Residents aren’t required to be present during site visits, but interested landowners may accompany the forester during inspections.

Site evaluations will occur once landowners have formally signed up for the program.

For more information about receiving assistance through EFRP, contact Kaye Hillock-Vining at the Chippewa-Mackinac-Luce County FSA Service Center at 906-632-9611, ext. 2.

To learn more about the many programs available to help landowners better manage, protect and sustain private forest lands, visit www.michigan.gov/privateforestland.

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