New law will help communities better prepare for dangerous wildfires
DENVER, CO – A new law, championed by Senator Tammy Story, D-Conifer, and Representative Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, to ensure Colorado communities have the resources necessary to prepare for future wildfires, went into effect today. Many remote communities in Colorado face wildfire risk, but lack the necessary resources to fight fires. As a result, some fire districts rely on local, remote ponds in emergencies to quickly refill water tanks and suppress small fires, but first responders are not always able to use remote ponds for firefighting. SB22-114 preserves critical fire suppression ponds and ensures that communities at risk of dangerous wildfires are equipped with the resources necessary to suppress fires and keep residents safe. “The threat of wildfires continues to grow, and it’s important that we’re as prepared as possible to handle them,” said Story. “We worked hard this year to help prevent wildfires while making sure our neighbors have the tools and resources they need to rebuild and recover. This new law is just one of many policies we passed that will help us prepare for future emergencies and keep our communities safe.” “These days in Colorado, wildfire season lasts year round, which means we have to be prepared to respond at any moment and give our brave first responders every possible tool they need to do their jobs,” said Roberts. “That is why I worked with Republicans and Democrats to pass this new law that will ensure firefighters have access to water to fight fires effectively and supported many efforts this year to add critical funding resources for wildfire prevention, mitigation, and response.” During the 2022 legislative session, Colorado Democrats passed several measures to support rebuilding efforts after disaster emergencies, improve insurance claims processes following wildfire disasters, and fund efforts to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires. SB22-206 establishes two programs to help communities recover and rebuild following disasters. It allocates $15 million to provide loans and grants to homeowners, businesses, and local governments rebuilding after a disaster emergency, as well as $20 million to cover costs related to rebuilding more resilient and energy efficient homes and structures and $15.5 million for improved wildfire firefighting resources. Colorado Democrats also passed HB22-1379, which invests $20 million in federal pandemic relief funds to prevent wildfires and conserve Colorado’s watersheds through mitigation, watershed restoration and flood mitigation grants.