PUEBLO, Colo. — The City of Pueblo Fire Department has been selected for the Colorado Strategic Wildfire Action Program (COSWAP) Workforce Development funding for a fire mitigation project.

The Department of Corrections State Wildland Inmate Fire Teams will complete the six-week project. They will focus on the river bed areas in the city, specifically Fountain Creek, Arkansas River, and a storm water drainage system north of Pueblo.

The Fire Department said this project will be instrumental in removing invasive plants and enhancing the usability of the area while also decreasing the wildfire risk.

“It’s a lot of heavy, labor-intensive type mitigation work. We can’t do it a lot with machines and machinery, we have to do it with personnel on the ground, actually performing the work,” said Deputy Chief Chris Harner with the Pueblo Fire Department. “It’s important for us to be able to get into those areas and mitigate out some of the invasive species that have taken over… this mitigation will not only reduce wildfire, it’ll improve the health of those areas as well.”

The Colorado Strategic Wildfire Action Program within the Department of Natural Resources was launched by the Polis administration through the bipartisan SB21-258 to invest $17.5 million state stimulus dollars in targeted wildfire risk mitigation as well as prioritizing and fund key mitigation projects.

The work will start in the winter and is scheduled to be finished by this time next year.