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February 12, 2024

Legislation to Keep Coloradans Safe During Wildfire Evacuations Passes Committee

DENVER, CO –  The House Agriculture, Water & Natural Resources Committee today to protect Coloradans from wildfires. HB24-1033, sponsored by Representatives Marc Snyder and Elizabeth Velasco, would encourage locally created  emergency evacuation plans for Coloradans with pets during wildfires or other emergencies.

“Wildfires can creep into communities quickly, and this legislation outlines an evacuation plan to keep everyone safe,” said Rep. Marc Snyder, D-Manitou Springs. “This bill encourages local communities to create emergency plans for Coloradans with pets so that they have evacuation options when disasters strike. Encouraging emergency preparedness will keep our communities safer during wildfires and other natural disasters.” 

“Rural and mountain communities like mine are often at-risk of destructive wildfires that uproot families, businesses and entire neighborhoods,” said Rep. Elizabeth Velasco, D-Glenwood Springs. “To better protect our community members during a wildfire, this legislation would create emergency plans for Coloradans with pets, including transportation and other logistics. For many Coloradans, their pets are valued members of the family and this legislation creates a plan to keep everyone safe during wildfire evacuations. From expanded mitigation efforts to emergency planning, it’s important Coloradans are prepared for wildfire emergencies because the safety of our communities depends on it.” 

HB24-1033, passed committee by a vote of 12 to 1. This bill would encourage local emergency management agencies to address the needs of Coloradans with animals during wildfires or other emergencies. This would include provisions for the evacuation, shelter, and transport of these individuals and their pets, including service animals. Beginning January 2025, local governments would also be strongly encouraged to make information for animal emergency preparedness available. 

This bill was created during the interim by the Wildfire Matters Review Committee and is designed to keep communities and Coloradans safer in the wake of destructive wildfires. 

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