DENVER — Two bills aimed to prevent devastating fires and boost local fire department funding have passed the state House of Representatives.

HB22-1132 aims to prevent devastating wildfires caused by controlled burns . It will require Coloradans to notify local fire departments or governing authorities before conducting a controlled burn. Under the bill, alerted authorities will determine if firefighters are needed at the burn site.

Rep. Richard Holtorf (R-CO Dist. 64) and Rep. Tony Exum (D-Colorado Springs) are prime sponsors of the bill. It passed by a vote of 56-6.

“In an instant, a controlled burn can take a turn and spark a devastating wildfire,” said Rep. Tony Exum. “This bill will give local departments the knowledge they need to prevent uncontrolled burns in their communities and help prevent sweeping wildfires.

SB22-002 would invest $1 million to better prepare local fire departments and their firefighters to handle wildfires. It would reimbursement local volunteer fire departments for wildland fire suppression activities including equipment costs and volunteer firefighter recruitment, training and retention. The funds from the Local Firefighter Safety ad Disease Prevention Grant Program will allow for the replacement or disposal of damaged or obsolete equipment. SB22-002 also creates the Firefighter Behavioral Health Benefits Trust to provide behavioral health care services to firefights paid which would be paid for by public employers.

This bill, sponsored by Rep. Lisa Cutter (D-Littleton) and Representative Perry Will (R-CO Dist. 57), passed by a vote of 58 to 4.

“Our bill provides volunteer firefighters with updated equipment, access to behavioral health resources and other support they need,” said Rep. Cutter. “Many of our brave firefighters are volunteers, and it is incumbent on us to support them as they work so hard to protect us, particularly as wildfires are increasing in frequency and intensity.”