Wildfire and disaster preparedness bills pass state committee | SkyHiNews.com

Wildfire and disaster preparedness bills pass state committee

Legislation will help create the Office of Climate Preparedness and a wildfire investigation fund for local fire departments

On May 4, the House Health State, Civic, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee passed two bills to build a safer Colorado. Bill SB22-206 would create the Office of Climate Preparedness and two new programs to improve Colorado’s disaster recovery efforts and prevention plans. Bill 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 Representative Judy Amabile, 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.”

The disaster preparedness bill SB22-206 passed out of committee by a vote of 7-3. This bill would establish two programs to help communities recover and rebuild following disasters. Fifteen million dollars would go to the Disaster Resilience Rebuilding Program to provide loans and grants to homeowners, businesses, and local governments rebuilding after disaster. 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.

The wildland fire investigations bill 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 can utilize collected data to prevent and mitigate future wildfires more effectively. Rep. Robert’s bill aims to build a safer Colorado by investigating wildfires and utilizing data to prevent future wildfires.

“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. “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.”


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