Monday, February 22, 2016

Legislator Seeks to Re-Fund Wildfire Risk Reduction Grants in Colorado

Fire near Durango and Silverton in Colorado, 2013. Photo: Durango Herald

Colorado State Senator Ellen Roberts is pushing legislation that will re-fund the Department of Natural Resources' Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant Program.  The program has been zeroed out by Governor Hickenlooper in his proposed budget.  
The program was created by the Legislature in 2013 with a one-time transfer of $9.8 million. Last year, an additional $1 million of severance taxes were used for the effort. The grants focus on projects that reduce fire risk, including creating defensible spaces around structures and limiting fuels. 
Roberts wants to restore the program to full funding – $3 million per year for three years. 
Groups such as FireWise of Southwest Colorado, Southwest Conservation Corps and the San Juan Headwaters Forest Health Partnership have used grant dollars to perform mitigation, while also empowering youths and veterans to participate in programs. Read more here

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