Denver -- Colorado wildfires haven't been making as much news in recent years, much to the state's good fortune, but the calm also may be breeding complacency in certain quarters, given how little attention the continuing threat received at the Statehouse this session.
But one state senator, Durango Republican Ellen Roberts, refuses to let the issue be back-burnered. She successfully fought to keep wildfire mitigation funds flowing during a session when every spare dollar was highly contested.
A bill she authored, Senate Bill 3, transfers $1 million into the Wildfire Risk Reduction Fund and establishes a Wildfire Matters Review Committee to study methods of fire risk reduction and the market potential of byproducts of hazardous fuels reduction, such as biochar or other wood waste products.
"First and foremost this bill is about reducing the wildfire threat and protecting peoples' lives, homes and way of life," said Roberts. "But by managing our forests better through wildfire mitigation efforts, we can save lives and prevent millions of dollars in damages while also protecting our environment and watersheds."
Thinning overgrown and fire-prone forests won't just help safeguard public safety, by making forests more fire resistant, according to Roberts. She also sees potential for boosting the local economy if the byproducts of those “fuel reduction” efforts can be put to productive and profitable uses.
Senate Bill 3 passed out of the Senate on a 34-1 vote and is now making its way through the House.
Please contact Sean Paige at 719-337-0355 with any questions.