Three bills meant to blunt the force of catastrophic wildfire in Colorado have made it through the state Senate and House, and now await Gov. John Hickenlooper’s signature. Here’s a round up of all three.
Senate Bill 273
This bill made it through the Senate last week and targets the Colorado State Forest Service, and how the agency interacts with community wildfire protection plans and the disposal of biomass.
The forest service is already actively involved in both of these things–the bill would made some subtle changes. I am still waiting to hear back from the forest service regarding the fine print changes to what they do. Currently, the forest service must sign off on any community wildfire protection plans.
The bill suggests that the forest service and communities do a few other things to manage wildfire risk, according to bill documents:
- encourages “the use of forest biomass for energy generation and material for forest industry development will
reduce the risk of future catastrophic wildfires, benefit the state’s economy”
- “directs the state forest service to collaborate with federal agencies to facilitate the use of forest biomass as feedstock for timber mills and other industries and for renewable energy generation”
“encourages a community that adopts or updates its community wildfire protection plan (CWPP) to incorporate, as part of the
CWPP, a biomass utilization plan developed in consultation with the state forest service”
Senate Bill 270
This bill focuses on reallocating state funds to help with a wildfire disaster. It would allow the governor and the Division of Fire Prevention and Control to move money from the Disaster Emergency Fund to the Wildfire Emergency Response Fund during a wildfire emergency.
Senate Bill 269
This bill would set up a grant program to fund fuel reduction projects. The grant program would give up to 25 percent of the funds needed for each project. All told, $10,300,000 would be set aside for the grant program.