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Colorado: Grants available for wildfire mitigation

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Flames tower over a stand of piñon trees during the Royal Gorge fire near Cañon City.

New state program aims to reduce the risk of fire in wildland-urban interface

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — State officials say they’re ready to start taking applications for a new $9.8 million grant program aimed at reducing wildfire risks to neighborhoods built in and near flammable forests, where wildfire is a natural part of the ecosystem.

The new program was created by Senate Bill 13-269 and passed this year by the Colorado General Assembly. It focuses on projects that reduce the risk for damage to property, infrastructure, and water supplies, and that limit the likelihood of wildfires spreading into populated areas. Funds will be directed to non-federal lands within Colorado.

Eligible applicants include community groups, local governments, utilities, state agencies and non-profit groups. Applicants must contribute 100 percent matching funds, which can include in-kind resources, for a 50-50 grant-to-match ratio. Applicants must also identify plans to make use of the woody material resulting from the projects. Those plans can include using the materials for biomass energy and/or traditional forest products. Continue reading

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Forest Service approves North Summit forest project

Dead lodgepoles will be cleared from around neighborhoods near Silverthorne and north through the Lower Blue valley with Forest Service approval of the North Summit project.

Long-awaited fire mitigation project in the Lower Blue will proceed this summer, helping protect rural neighborhoods from wildfires

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — The U.S. Forest Service and homeowners at the north end of the county will take another big step toward reducing the fire hazard around neighborhoods with approval of the North Summit project.

The fuel reduction work will will create a community protection zone on about 1,095 acres of wildland-urban interface within a 600-foot strip along the boundary of National Forest and private lands.

The project area includes National Forest lands along the Colorado Highway 9 corridor, from the neighborhoods of Wildernest north to Sierra Bosque. These communities have been identified through the collaborative Summit County Community Wildfire Protection Plan process as having high hazard fuels risks. Continue reading

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