Governor Polis announced millions in investments to fight wildfires

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DENVER – Colorado is prone to wildfires, given the wildland-urban interface where millions of Coloradans currently live. The state of Colorado offers funding assistance to local cities, local fires departments, HOAs and more through the Forest Restoration and Wildfire Risk Mitigation grant program which is part of the Colorado State Forest Service.

Governor Jared Polis announced that in total, the CSFS will award approximately $6.4 million to 42 applicants across 25 Colorado counties.

“We are so excited to make this important investment in decreasing fire risk and improving forest health. Ongoing drought has increased fire risk in many parts of our state and the increased funds from these forest health grants can immediately go into projects on the ground to assist communities in need while also providing a boost to local economies,” said Governor Jared Polis.  

Governor Polis visited Elk Head Reservoir State Park in Craig, Colo. on the state’s drought tour and announced that the Colorado River District in partnership with the Colorado Water Conservation Board. The CWCB is releasing 677 acre-feet of water from the Elkhead Reservoir to help local farmers for free. 

In spring of 2021, to address the Colorado wildfire threat, Governor Polis signed SB21-054 which appropriated the $6 million to the FRWRM program for this grant cycle and SB21-205 which increased and stabilized funds up to $8 million for the FRWRM program for the future.

The funding for this round of FRWRM awards was derived from these two bills and will help Coloradans with the following efforts:

  • Build community capacity to address wildfire
  • Reduce the risk of wildfire to people, property and infrastructure
  • Promote forest health and restoration
  • Encourage the use of wood from forest health and fuels reduction projects

Susan Matthews, interim state forester and director of the CSFS, said, “The Colorado State Forest Service is getting those funds into the hands of local communities to get work done on the ground and prepare themselves for wildfire. Now more than ever, it’s important for communities to take action to reduce their fire risk – and this funding gives a much-needed boost to those without the means to do so on their own.”

Projects awarded from the funds during this cycle are located in the following counties: Alamosa, Archuleta, Boulder, Chaffee, Clear Creek, Custer, Douglas, El Paso, Garfield, Grand, Gunnison, Huerfano, Jefferson, La Plata, Larimer, Las Animas, Mesa, Montezuma, Montrose, Ouray, Park, Pueblo, Routt, San Miguel and Teller.

Of the 42 projects getting portions of the funding, 12 are located in areas with fewer economic resources.

The CSFS will announce the next round of funding assistance through the FRWRM grant program in the summer of 2022.

For information about the program and funding, visit this website.

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