Gov. John Hickenlooper announced on Aug. 16 more than $4 million in wildfire risk reduction grants awarded for projects throughout Colorado. Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District received $133,780 for its Colorado-Big Thompson Headwaters Partnership project, Glacier View Fire Protection District received $110,000 for mitigation efforts and the Girl Scouts of Colorado received $5,000 for mitigation initiatives at Magic Sky Ranch near Red Feather Lakes.
Recipients include 25 projects in 16 counties that will reduce hazardous forest fuels on more than 6,600 acres of non-federal wildland-urban interface.
“It is critical that we invest in projects that help prevent catastrophic wildfires from spreading into neighborhoods and communities,” said Sen. Jeanne Nicholson (D-Gilpin County), a sponsor of Senate Bill 13-269, which created the Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant Program. “The state and federal government can’t do this work alone. These grants will allow local governments and community groups to make a real impact in their immediate areas.”
Nicholson was named chair of the Wildfire Matters Interim Committee on Aug. 15. The committee will meet four more times before Oct. 31 to study past wildfires and craft necessary legislation for the 2014 legislative session.
This $9.8 million competitive grant program also requires applicants to produce 100 percent matching funds or the value of in-kind contributions for the project.
Eligible grant recipients include:
– local community groups, including HOAs
– local government entities
– public or private utilities, including water providers
– state agencies that own lands in areas of high risk for catastrophic wildfires
– nonprofit groups that promote hazardous forest fuel reduction projects in partnership with local, state or private entities.
In 2012, more than 5,000 wildfires occurred in Colorado, burning more than 648 structures and claiming six lives. The Black Forest Fire, in June 2013, destroyed 486 homes and killed two residents.
“The General Assembly took proactive steps this session to improve funding for wildfire risk mitigation programs, in addition to other wildfire-related initiatives,” said Senate President John Morse (D-Colorado Springs). “We’ve seen two deadly wildfires, in El Paso County alone, over the past year, and I firmly believe this bipartisan plan will help prevent these types of tragedies in the future.”
For more information about statewide grantees, visit dnr.state.co.us (PDF).
For more information about the Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant Program administered by the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, visit dnr.state.co.us.