DENVER (KDVR) — It has been four weeks since the Marshall Fire tore through Boulder County.
As families there try to put their lives back together, the state’s Fire Commission is looking for solutions to better mitigate the next natural disaster in Colorado. They said the answer will come from the Capitol.
Fire Commission Executive Director Mike Morgan wants to see more people working behind the scenes, helping coordinate during a disaster. FOX31 asked a leader at the Capitol if they plan to help make that happen.
Boulder Sen. Majority Leader Steve Fenberg helped pass Senate Bill 21-166 last year, which established the Regional and Statewide Mutual Aid System to help agencies on the frontlines better work together.
“When it gets to a certain level or if it crosses county lines, it sort of goes up the chain of commands in terms of who is going to be in charge of it,” Fenberg said. “We wanted to make sure as fires are becoming more year-round and more severe, that communities have more of what they needed and sometimes that means better coordination with communities around them.”
But now, the state’s fire commission said that center needs to be better staffed so agencies involved can better alert one another. Fenberg said he is confident lawmakers can help fix that.
“We need to make sure we have ongoing resources, ongoing technical assistance for these communities and if the state plays more of a role to support these local efforts. We’ve actually put a historic amount of resources and funding into fire prevention and fire response when there are fires the issue is we’ve been underfunding these areas for so long,” Fenberg said.
The fire commission said that is the bottom line: more resources are needed to prevent these emergencies. They said they are doing all they can with what’s in place right now.
Lawmakers are also introducing several bills meant to address issues presented by wildfires, including:
- a bill that would create a working group to conduct awareness outreach
- a bill that would create a grant program to help forested counties recover from wildfires
- a bill that would create a wildfire incentive program for local governments
- a bill allowing volunteer departments to have more access to state funding for fire suppression
- a bill that calls for the Division of Fire Prevention and Control in the Department of Public Safety to investigate wildland fires and designates $204,600 for the investigations