Legislation directs funding toward creating the Office of Climate Preparedness and a wildfire investigation fund for local fire departments
DENVER, CO – The House Health State, Civic, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee today passed two bills to build a safer Colorado. SB22-206 would create the Office of Climate Preparedness and two new programs to improve Colorado’s disaster recovery efforts and prevention plans. SB22-280 would provide more resources to local fire departments to investigate and prevent wildfires.
“The rise in wildfire destruction and displacement is very real, and we must be prepared for future natural disasters,” said Rep. Judy Amabile, B-Boulder, sponsor of SB22-206. “Our bill creates the Office of Climate Preparedness to help Colorado coordinate emergency response efforts, mitigate damage caused by natural disasters and connect Coloradans to the services they need after a disaster. This bill is forward-thinking and a smart investment toward building a safer Colorado and helping our neighbors rebuild after a disaster.”
“Wildfires in Colorado are a growing concern for Coloradans across the state and our local fire departments need more resources to investigate the cause behind these wildfires,” said Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, sponsor of SB22-280. “My bill creates a fire investigation fund specially designed to aid local fire departments in investigating, mitigating and preventing wildfires. Keeping Coloradans safe from wildfire begins with prevention, and our bill makes it easier for local departments to learn from past wildfires to better prevent future ones.”
Disaster Preparedness And Recovery Resources: SB22-206, sponsored by Representative Judy Amabile, passed committee by a vote of 7-3. This bill would establish two programs to help communities recover and rebuild following disasters. $15 million would go to the Disaster Resilience Rebuilding Program to provide loans and grants to homeowners, businesses, and local governments rebuilding after a disaster emergency. The bill also allocates $20 million to the Disaster Recovery and Resilience Program to provide loans and grants to homeowners, businesses, and local governments to cover costs related to rebuilding more resilient and energy efficient homes and structures.
The bill also transfers $15 million to the Colorado Firefighting Air Corps Fund to lease wildfire fighting aviation resources and to establish and maintain a statewide dispatch center to ensure rapid response of fire mitigation resources.
Finally, the bill creates the Office of Climate Preparedness in the Governor’s office, tasked with coordinating disaster recovery efforts to better respond to natural disaster emergencies and developing a climate preparedness roadmap to ensure Colorado is better prepared for future climate-induced disasters.
Wildland Fire Investigations: SB22-080, sponsored by Representative Dylan Roberts passed committee by a vote of 9-0. This bill would create the Fire Origin and Cause Investigation Fund to help local fire departments investigate and collect data about the cause of wildland fires. Under this bill, local fire departments and the Colorado Department of Public Safety (DPS) can utilize collected data to more effectively prevent and mitigate future wildfires. Representative Robert’s bill aims to build a safer Colorado by investigating wildfires and utilizing data to prevent future wildfires.