Legislation would make it easier for projects in lower-income communities to receive grant funding and allow nonprofits and fire districts to also receive grants
DENVER, CO– The House Committee on Rural Affairs and Agriculture today passed by a vote of 11-0 Representative McCluskie’s bipartisan legislation to make it easier for lower-income communities, nonprofits and fire districts to receive wildfire risk mitigation grants.
“With our changing climate, wildfires are growing more common and more intense, and they don’t discriminate based on how much money a community has,” said Rep. McCluskie (D-Dillon). “This bipartisan legislation will allow more communities, especially those with fewer economic resources, to take advantage of wildfire hazard mitigation grants. These grants fund critical projects that reduce the risk that a wildfire will threaten lives and property.”
HB20-1057, which is also sponsored by Representative Terri Carver, would lower the self-finance threshold for the cost of projects from 50 percent to 25 percent in areas with fewer economic resources. Currently, grant applicants must pay for 50 percent of the cost of a project financed by a grant. By lowering the threshold, more lower-income communities will be able to take advantage of wildfire risk mitigation grants.
The bill, which advanced from the Wildfire Matters Review Committee, would also allow nonprofits, entities engaged in firefighting, and fire protection districts to apply for the grants. It extends the grant program until September, 2029. Under current law, the program expires in September, 2022.
Wildfire risk mitigation grants are used to finance projects that reduce the risk that wildfire will damage property and infrastructure. Projects typically work to reduce the hazardous materials, such as dead trees and brush, that fuel wildfires and threaten people and property in the wildland-urban interface. Grants sizes have ranged from $4,400 to $152,500.