DENVER - Gov. John Hickenlooper has announced more than $4 million in grants to reduce wildfire risk in communities across Colorado.
The grants will be given to 25 projects in 16 counties to treat more than 6,600 acres in areas where human development and forested landscapes overlap, often called the wildland-urban interface.
The Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant Program, passed this year by the Colorado General Assembly, focused on projects that reduce the risk for damage to property, infrastructure and water supplies, and those that limit the likelihood of wildfires spreading into populated areas. Funds are directed to non-federal lands within Colorado.
In all, the grants will generate more than $8 million worth of work on the ground, due to a 100 percent match requirement for applicants. Every project selected includes plans to use to the woody material that will be generated and the program includes a tracking element to monitor and gauge the effectiveness of each selected project.
A portion of the awards are "capacity-building" grants, designed to provide communities with equipment that will enable them to treat hazardous fuels on state and private lands going forward. Those capacity-building grants totaled $753,827, or 18 percent of the total funding awarded. The legislation caps those grants at 25 percent of the total.
A second round of grant proposals will be solicited in 2014 to award about $5.8 million in additional funds.
The $4,086,812 in grants announced today have been awarded to the following local governments and organizations: Coalition for the Upper South Platte, Ouray County, Log Hill Mesa Fire Protection District, Sunshine Fire Protection District, Girl Scouts of Colorado, Jefferson Conservation District, Summit County and Town of Breckenridge, Blue Mountain Forest Stewardship Initiative, Gilpin County, Genesee Foundation, Forest Lakes Metropolitan District, Glacier View Fire Protection District, City of Colorado Springs, City and County of Denver, Santa Fe Trail Ranch Property Owners Association, Mountain Parks Electric, Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, Boulder County, Glenwood Highlands Estates Homeowners Association, FireWise of SouthWest Colorado, Douglas County, Montezuma County Fire Chiefs Association, El Paso County and Timberdale Homeowners Association.
All applicants were required to coordinate proposed projects with relevant county officials to ensure consistency with county-level wildfire risk reduction planning.
A list of the individual grant awards, as well as a more detailed overview of the grant program and its requirements and limitations, is available through this link at the Department of Natural Resources website: http://dnr.state.co.us/Media/Pages/WFRRGrantProgram.aspx.