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March 6, 2024

Bill to Study Wildfire Damage, Address Health Risks Passes Committee

DENVER, CO – The House Business Affairs & Labor Committee today passed legislation to study remediation and restoration standards in homes affected by wildfire. HB24-1315, sponsored by Representative Brown and Amabile, aims to outline health concerns caused by in-home wildfire damage and create new remediation procedures.

“The list of those impacted by the Marshall Fire goes beyond just those whose properties were completely destroyed – there are many families whose homes were partially damaged by wildfire smoke, soot or ash,” said Rep. Kyle Brown, D-Louisville. “Long exposure to wildfire smoke and ash can lead to health risks, including cardiovascular and respiratory effects. This bill aims to help establish standard protocols regarding remediation for cleaning up these damaged properties. With this bill, property owners, insurance companies and the Division of Insurance will be on the same page about proper next steps for making wildfire-impacted homes safe again.” 

“Even if your wildfire-impacted home is still standing, it could be considered a health risk because of the lingering contaminants from smoke, soot and ash,” said Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder. “This bill would create a state-run study to uncover standard protocols for cleaning spaces contaminated by wildfire and make sure they’re not a health risk to residents. From indoor air quality to structural contamination, this bill would help establish much needed guidelines for making wildfire-impacted properties safe for Coloradans.” 

HB24-1315, passed by a vote of 11-0 would direct the Division of Insurance to study and make recommendations regarding guidelines and standards for insurers in covering the remediation of homeowner losses due to smoke, soot, and ash.

The 2021 Marshall Fire completely destroyed nearly 1,100 residential properties in Boulder County in addition to the hundreds of homes that were impacted by wildfire smoke, soot and ash. Many of the Marshall Fire survivors have been exposed to wildfire-related contaminants found in smoke, soot, and ash which can lead to health issues. Some of these contaminants can become embedded in the infrastructure of homes, making it incredibly difficult to remediate and ensure a healthy and livable space for residents.

This bill would help lay the groundwork for uniform standards surrounding proper cleaning of structural elements or personal property and indoor air quality. HB24-1315 would help address health concerns related to in-home wildfire damage, provide clarity and consistency for homeowners, renters, and insurance companies, and support housing availability by creating a procedure for properly cleaning homes damaged by wildfire smoke, ash or soot.

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