Federal Funding to Bolster Colorado Wildfire Prevention Efforts

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – The Biden Administration is stepping up its efforts to combat wildfires in Colorado, announcing a significant investment in wildfire management across the state. This comes in the form of a nationwide $185 million investment from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, with specific focus on eight states, as detailed by Deputy Secretary of the Interior Tommy Beaudreau.

Of that total, $2,040,000 has been pledged by the USDA Forest Service to aid in forest restoration and reduction of wildfire risks in Colorado, alongside South Dakota and Wyoming. White House Infrastructure Coordinator and President Biden’s senior advisor, Mitch Landrieu, revealed that the funding is intended for a range of uses, including reducing hazardous fuels, supporting wild land fire management, supporting the pay of frontline firefighters, and rehabilitating areas affected by wildfires.

The Forest Service has outlined its plan for the use of funds across three main areas in Colorado.

In the San Isabel National Forest, $75,000 is allocated towards reducing fire fuels around Blue and Bear Lake Campground. In the White River National Forest, $1,015,000 will be used to reduce fire fuel load near private and county lands, providing defensible space in the Boulder Creek and Frisco Backyard areas. Also in the White River National Forest, $20,000 will be allocated to address the impact of the mountain pine beetle epidemic, which has increased fire risks by leaving trees dead and dry. Funds will also go toward improving forest resiliency.

Landrieu emphasized the importance of improving forest resiliency to prevent future fires, with measures like reducing hazardous fuels playing a crucial role. He said that the White House has been supporting firefighters for years, but given the extreme weather seen across the country recently, President Biden is looking to intensify efforts to prevent destructive fires in the future.

Wildfire Prevention Tips

As efforts to bolster wildfire prevention and management are underway in Colorado, it’s crucial to remember that each individual can also play a part in mitigating the risk. Here are some wildfire prevention tips for Colorado residents and visitors:

  1. Be Aware of Restrictions: Adhere to local fire restrictions and bans. These can change frequently depending on conditions, so always check before you plan a campfire or grill.

  2. Dispose of Cigarettes Properly: Never toss cigarette butts from car windows or leave them outdoors. They can quickly ignite a fire.

  3. Keep Campfires Safe: When camping, keep fires small and manageable. Never leave them unattended, and make sure they are fully extinguished before leaving the site.

  4. Be Smart When Towing: Dragging chains when towing can cause sparks that ignite roadside fires. Make sure chains are secure.

  5. Be Cautious with Fireworks: Use fireworks with care and only where they’re legal. If conditions are dry, it might be better to skip them altogether.

  6. Maintain a Defensible Space: If you live near forest areas, clear the space around your home of excess brush and vegetation. This creates a buffer and can slow the spread of wildfires, protecting your home and aiding firefighting efforts.

  7. Report Suspicious Activities: If you notice anything out of the ordinary that might cause a fire, don’t hesitate to report it to the local authorities.

  8. Plan Ahead: Have a family disaster plan ready and prepare an emergency kit. In case of a wildfire, you may need to evacuate quickly.

Remember, wildfire prevention is everyone’s responsibility. Staying informed, prepared, and vigilant can make all the difference.

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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In 2018, I watched in disbelief as dozens of people hiked into a storm on Longs Peak, unaware of the extreme danger. Soon after, I started The Next Summit to educate and empower the public to safely and responsibly explore America's mountains.

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