Colorado to receive $37 million for wildfire mitigation

Posted at 9:18 PM, Feb 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-10 11:08:41-05

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Colorado will receive $37 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act to reduce wildfire risk on the Front Range this year.

This year's funds will treat roughly 16,000 acres. Last year, the state received just over $18 million, which treated about 10,000 acres.

“This wildfire crisis, it's really a crisis,” said the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Under Secretary Dr. Homer Wilkes.

“The Marshall Fire in Boulder County in 2021 taught us that wildland urban interface areas are at risk, and we need to do something about what we're seeing,” said Frank Beum, regional forester for the Rocky Mountain Region for the U.S. Forest Service.

Beum says a lot of work was done in 2022 to prevent wildfires.

“We partnered on a project near Bailey, Colorado, to reduce fuel reduction in more than 900 acres, creating a barrier between fire prone forests in the north of the South Platte River,” said Beum.

There are mitigation plans already in place for 2023.

“That is a 400 acre project aiming to reduce wildfire risk around the community of Lake George, as well as an adjacent subdivision of over 1,000 homes,” said Beum.

Though wildfires are inevitable, the USDA hopes these steps will make future wildfires less severe.

"Wildfires are going to come around because drought, insects, all those types of things are going to impact our forests,” said Wilkes. “That was the purpose of these funds — coming here and getting those communities in better shape than they are if we actually infuse those dollars.”

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