(COLORADO) — The United States Department of Agriculture announced it will invest an additional $37 million in 2023 to continue wildfire protection efforts in Colorado’s high-risk Front Range.

“We are grateful for these investments which support community, tribal, and partner collaboration for strategically reducing wildland fire risk,” said Regional Forester Frank Beum.

At a press conference in Broomfield, Colorado, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment, Dr. Homer Wilkes announced the investment. Last year the Colorado Front Range received $18.1 million as part of the Forest Service’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy. The new funding extends funding in 2023 to reduce fire risk on an additional 16,000 acres. Funding is made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act.

This year the Forest Service, working collaboratively with the state, local communities, and partners will complete hazardous fuel reduction projects to reduce wildfire risk along the Front Range, with strategically placed work near Front Range communities and natural resources, such as the ongoing work near Bailey and Lake George.

Additionally, teams will continue the environmental analysis necessary in consideration for treatment activities such as mechanical thinning, mulching, hand thinning, and prescribed fire. These projects will improve forest health and wildlife habitats in key watersheds that are a source of water for over 1.5 million residents in the Denver Metropolitan area.

“USDA is using the financial resources made available through these laws to benefit people living in wildland-urban interface communities as well as those living downstream that rely on National Forest System lands for a clean and sustainable water supply,” said Under Secretary Wilkes. “I am deeply impressed by the long-standing partnerships here in Colorado and the work we can accomplish together.”