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Arizona awards $8 million grants to reduce invasive weeds that fuel wildfires

The Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management has awarded nearly $8 million in grants to help reduce the risk of wildfire.

Much of the money will be used to remove invasive plants.

Tiffany Davilla, of the Department of Forestry and Fire Management, said that more than $1 million will go to cities, parks and nonprofits to help remove buffelgrass,

fountain grass and other invasive species.

"So, that’s to help eradicate, remove invasive species across landscapes in Arizona," Davilla said.

About $7 million will go to state agencies under the Healthy Forests Initiative for fuel reduction, fire breaks and additional projects.

Davilla said invasive plants can be a big catalyst for wildfire.

"They contribute to wildfire, they increase the activity of wildfire, they can increase the heat of a wildfire, especially that salt cedar, when we get fires into the riverbeds," she said.

She says that applications for a number of future grants are open.

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Ron Dungan was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2024.