A federal department invested more than $5.1 million in Colorado to help the state fight and prevent devastating wildfires.
In Colorado, record-breaking wildfires have become more and more common in recent years. At the end of December, Colorado suffered its most destructive wildfire in state history, when the Marshall fire destroyed more than 1,000 homes in Boulder County. Shortly before, the three largest wildfires in Colorado history all occurred in 2020.
The U.S. Department of the Interior announced its investment to fight Colorado’s wildfires on Thursday — part of a $103 million effort to reduce wildfire risk, mitigate impacts, and rehabilitate burned areas nationwide.
“As climate change drives harsher heat waves, more volatile weather and record drought conditions, we are seeing wildfire seasons turn to wildfire years, threatening communities, businesses, wildlife and the environment,” said Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau. “We are investing in Colorado communities, advancing wildfire resilience work across the country, improving resources for the heroic firefighting workforce, and reducing the risk of wildfire.”
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Colorado’s $5.1 million will go toward advancing wildfire resilience work and supporting fuel treatment in areas with high wildfire hazard potential across 5,395 acres of land throughout the state.
The money comes from the 2022 fiscal year funding from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — a $1 trillion policy package passed in 2021 to rebuild transportation infrastructure, expand access to clean drinking water and high-speed internet, address climate change and more.
The law includes $1.5 billion delegated to Interior over the next five years to invest in wildfire preparedness, fuel management, post-fire restoration and fire science. It also directs reforms for federal wildland firefighters, such as temporary pay increases.
Earlier this year, the Colorado Legislature passed 11 wildfire-related laws itself, totaling tens of millions of dollars in investments, including increasing firefighting resources, fostering recovery efforts, conserving watersheds, and funding wildfire mitigation incentives and outreach.
Marshall fire debris removed, clearing way for rebuild before snow falls