Federal dollars to help areas affected by High Park, Waldo Canyon fires
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Persistence by Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet paid off this week, as the U.S. Senate passed legislation that includes $65.5 million to help communities like El Paso County and Larimer County repair watersheds damaged in last summer’s wildfires.
Red Zone population increases. climate change and continued drought add urgency to the wildfire discussions
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Responding to last summer’s destructive Colorado wildfires, Gov. John Hickenlooper this week authorized creation of new advisory groups to try reduce the impacts of future fires and to try and reduce the chances of big fires in residential areas.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Some of Colorado’s elected officials in Washington, D.C. are fuming over the latest partisan budget maneuvering, which included a move by the House GOP to cut funding that would have helped fire-scarred areas in the state protect their watersheds.
“It was wrong for the House to remove Colorado fire recovery funding from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act,” Democratic Congressman Jared Polis. “Colorado experienced the worst wildfire season on record last year and our communities deserve a helping hand. If the House had passed the Senate disaster relief funding measure this money would already be on its way to Colorado.”
Monday night, Polis offered a motion that would have allowed consideration of the amendment on the floor of the House during a session of the Rules Committee, but it was defeated on a party line vote of 9-4. The emergency funding measure passed the House Tuesday by a vote of 241-180. Continue reading “GOP blocks funds for Colorado wildfire recovery”→
FRISCO — Colorado communities hit hard by this past summer’s wildfires could get some help with restoring damaged watershed, as the U.S. Senate passed a disaster recovery bill that includes a boost in resources to support Colorado’s watershed recovery efforts.
If the House passes the bill, the $125 million for the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program likely will be used, in part, to repair watershed damages that El Paso, Larimer and Weld counties sustained during this year’s wildfire season.
“Water is precious in Colorado, especially right now during the worst drought in years,” said Senator Michael Bennet. “This bill will provide help for the Colorado communities that are recovering from the devastating fires this summer and are now facing threats to their water supply and the risk of flooding at the same time. I am hopeful our colleagues in the House will quickly pass the bill and deliver this support to the communities that need it,” Bennet said. Continue reading “Senate bill could boost wildfire restoration efforts”→
Letter to feds raises numerous questions about High Park, Waldo Canyon fires but doesn’t mention global warming
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Colorado’s two U.S. Senators are asking the U.S. Forest Service for an in-depth study of several major wildfires that destroyed hundreds of homes along the Front Range wildland-urban interface — the red zone, where up to 40 percent of the state’s population has chosen to live in areas where fires are a natural part of the ecosystem.
“The unprecedented nature and pattern of these fires calls for a systematic and scientific analysis to learn how we as a society can do better. Our goal is to make sure that the lessons learned — positive and negative — are captured and acted upon appropriately,” they wrote in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Continue reading “Colorado: Udall, Bennet seek in-depth wildfire study”→
Residents returning to neighborhoods in the fire area
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The High Park Fire in Larimer County could be fully contained as soon as Sunday, July 1, as crews patrol the interior of the fire to extinguish a few remaining hotspots. They’ll get help from a Cobra helicopter equipped with video and infrared sensing equipment to focus the mop-up efforts.
The remote sensing data will be used tactically to guide firefighters to remaining heat pockets around structures and within unburned islands in the interior of the burn area.