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Governor Polis and State Forest Service Reveal 31 Grants for Wildfire Prevention

Governor Polis (Credits: NBC News)

Today, Governor Jared Polis revealed the recipients of the 2023-2024 Forest Restoration and Wildfire Risk Mitigation (FRWRM) grant program. The Colorado State Forest Service will distribute $7.2 million across 31 projects in 17 counties to enhance wildfire prevention, mitigation, and response capabilities throughout the state.

“With this new support, we’re reinforcing our commitment to safeguard people, homes, and critical infrastructure from wildfire threats,” Governor Polis expressed.

Despite experiencing a relatively mild weather year in 2023, Colorado’s wildfire risk persists, exacerbated by increased vegetation growth that poses additional fire hazards near residential areas. Some regions continue to face drought challenges.

The FRWRM grant program offers financial assistance to communities and organizations striving to reduce wildfire risks and promote healthier forests.

Colo. Gov. Polis (Credits: CNN)

The grant requires recipients to match a portion of the funds through direct funding or in-kind contributions, depending on their economic resources. This stipulation ensures a collaborative investment in forest restoration and wildfire mitigation efforts, totaling over $15 million when these matching funds are included.

The projects selected for this funding round will address 3,715 acres across Colorado, focusing on enhancing community resilience, reducing wildfire risks to people and property, promoting forest health, and utilizing wood from forest management activities.

Matt McCombs, the state forester and director of the Colorado State Forest Service, highlighted the grants’ critical role in protecting communities, properties, and the state’s natural beauty. “The resources provided through these grants are essential for maintaining resilient forests and minimizing wildfire risks,” McCombs stated.

Democrat Jared Polis (Credits: AP News)

The counties benefiting from this cycle’s FRWRM funds include Boulder, Chaffee, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Eagle, El Paso, Garfield, Grand, Huerfano, Jefferson, La Plata, Larimer, Montezuma, Park, Pitkin, and Routt, with a notable number of projects targeting economically vulnerable areas.

Dan Gibbs, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, emphasized the strategic nature of these investments. “These funds support vital forestry and wildfire mitigation efforts, fostering communities and landscapes that can better withstand wildfires,” said Gibbs.

This grant cycle saw 79 applications seeking over $18 million in support, demonstrating the high demand for resources to combat wildfire risks. With $7.2 million available, not all requests could be met, leaving good acreage untreated and underscoring the ongoing need for substantial investment in forest health and wildfire preparedness.

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