Interior Department invests $5.1M to advance wildfire resilience in Colorado
WASHINGTON — On Thursday, the Interior department announced it has invested over $5.1 million to advance wildfire resilience work and support fuels management projects in Colorado during fiscal year 2022.
The funding comes from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and is part of $103 million allocated by the Interior earlier this year to reduce wildfire risk, mitigate impacts and rehabilitate burned areas. The funding will help complete fuels treatments on nearly 2 million acres nationwide this fiscal year, a substantial increase over the prior year.
The announcement comes as Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau is in the Western U.S. this week to highlight how investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act are advancing wildfire resilience and drought resilience.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is bringing much-needed support to communities across the country to increase the resilience of lands facing the threat of wildland fires and to better support federal wildland firefighters.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments in wildland fire management in Colorado will increase fuels treatment in areas with high wildfire hazard potential, helping to protect homes and businesses in the wildland-urban interface and public drinking water. These efforts will promote climate resiliency across landscapes and communities and will employ Tribal members, youth, and veterans.
A portion of this year’s wildfire resilience funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will be used to continue development of a wildfire risk mapping and mitigation tool, which is being developed jointly with USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. The tool will assist land managers in collectively identifying potential wildfire risks and sharing planned and accomplished mitigation activities. The law also provides increased support to the Joint Fire Science Program, an interagency partnership with the USDA Forest Service that funds wildfire science research projects.
The Department’s recently released Five-year Monitoring, Maintenance, and Treatment Plan to address wildfire risk laid out a road map for achieving these objectives in coordination with federal, non-federal, and Tribal partners. In combination with the USDA Forest Service’s 10-Year Wildfire Crisis Strategy, these plans outline the monitoring, maintenance, and treatment strategy the agencies will use to address wildfire risk, better serve communities, and improve conditions on all types of lands where wildfires can occur.
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