BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — More funding for wildfire mitigation efforts is on the way to Colorado.
State leaders celebrated the funding on Monday afternoon with leaders of the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
“Sadly, Boulder County has really become a crucible for what we are facing in terms of climate change in this country. The whole state of Colorado has become a crucible,” U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet said.
Last year, the bipartisan infrastructure plan featured more than $5 billion for the DOI and USDA. In the seat where the Calwood Fire tore through the county, lawmakers and agency leaders celebrated more money coming to prevent more fires from happening in the future.
“Today we’re announcing the first round of priority landscapes to be treated under this plan: 10 landscapes across eight western states. Now for the remainder of this fiscal year, USDA will invest $131 million across these landscapes,” U.S. Forestry Service Chief Randy Moore said.
Of that money, $18.1 million will go toward helping high-risk communities along the Front Range, including projects in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, the Pawnee National Grasslands, the Pike and San Isabel National Forests and the Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands.
Forestry leaders working on the ground in the state said their first focus is to work with the people living near the sites slated for funding.
“In essence, there’s a whole bunch of work upfront with communities to be able to get the community and folks ready for the money. We have to get folks together to talk about where to put the treatments, what are we going to do, et cetera. And then once folks have gone through all that, then we are going prioritize that locality to go get treatments done,” said Monte Williams, U.S. Forest Supervisor.
On top of the funding that has already been secured, senators from Colorado are hoping to get even more funding over the next years to further implement mitigation efforts.