Senate Committee Passes Key Wildfire Mitigation Bill

Colorado Department of Natural Resources expressed support for legislation today which delivers on the Colorado Recovery Plan’s commitment to protect communities and create jobs, by investing $25 million in targeted wildfire risk mitigation, recovery, and workforce development.

SB21-258, which passed unanimously out of the Senate Local Government committee, marks a significant one-time, strategic investment to jumpstart work on wildfire mitigation in targeted locations that connect fuels treatments at landscape-scales to protect communities.

“Colorado’s wildfire crisis is at a critical juncture and immediate decisive action is necessary to protect lives, homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure,” said Dan Gibbs, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Natural Resources. “Although Colorado has been and remains committed to taking meaningful action to mitigate wildfire risk, past efforts have lacked the coordination, landscape-scale focus, and robust state investment required to properly address the size and behavior of catastrophic wildfires. The legislation proposed today will quickly move resources to on the ground projects with a focus on protecting communities, watersheds and improving forest health.”

The legislation involves interagency cooperation and collaboration to quickly move resources and workforces to shovel ready projects, as well as identify priority areas for planning. This bill addresses the need to assess risk, plan and implement wildfire risk mitigation projects, expands workforce capacity through investments in the Colorado Youth Corps Association and the Department of Corrections, invests in the development of the forest products industry, and enhances the capacity and flexibility of programs at the Colorado State Forest Service. This bill also creates the hazard mitigation fund in the Department of Public Safety to assist local jurisdictions in obtaining the matching funds required for certain federal hazard mitigation grants.

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