Three Bills Address Enforcement and Preparedness Concerning Wildfires
(May 18) – Gov. John Hickenlooper joined with sponsors today at a ceremony in Lyons to celebrate a three-bill package to address the threat of wildfires in Colorado.
SB18-039, sponsored in the House by Rep. Tony Exum, D-Colorado Springs, continues the Wildfire Matters Review Committee, which was established in the wake of the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires of 2012 and 2013, the two most destructive wildfires in Colorado’s history. Many of the bills passed since 2013 improving the state’s preparation for and response to wildfires have come out of the Wildfire Matters Review Committee.
“Some states are threatened by hurricanes or earthquakes, but in Colorado our clear and present danger is wildfire,” said Rep. Exum, who was a battalion chief in the Colorado Springs Fire Department before becoming a legislator. “The Wildfire Matters Review Committee is dedicated to making sure we never let down our guard against this threat.”
Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, sponsored the other two bills, HB18-1051 and SB18-202. The first establishes penalties for leaving campfires unattended; the second allows the Colorado Firefighting Air Corps cash fund to grow beyond the statutory reserve limits and to use these additional funds in future years.
“Luckily the Firefighting Air Corps didn’t have to spend all its money during the last fire season,” Rep. Hamner said. “This new law lets them save for a time of greater need. And HB 1051 will help enforce efforts to prevent devastating wildfires from occurring in the first place.”