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F7768908F955AB90872584420068C53E Hearing Summary


Date Jul 25, 2019      
Location HCR 0112

The Nature Conservancy - Committee Discussion Only

01:04:26 PM  

The committee reconvened.

Rob Addington, Forest and Fire Program Director, The Nature Conservancy, introduced himself and his work to the committee.  He provided slides (Attachment H).  He discussed the state's forest land, focusing on forest water supply.  He explained that fires are an important part of forest ecology and noted that overgrown forests have made fires more destructive.

01:09:30 PM  

Mr. Addington discussed the 2002 Hayman Fire and the way in which fires continue to impact forests and watersheds decades later.  He noted that nationally, more area has burned and federal suppression spending has increased.  He explained that weather, topography, and fuels all affect fire behavior, but land managers can only address fuels.

01:13:46 PM  

Mr. Addington discussed fire management funding and the importance of state funding for forest and fuels treatments.  He then discussed the importance of prescribed fire.  He explained that the state has been scaling up its use of prescribed burns, including conducting burns after mechanical treatments are completed.  He added that prescribed fire is a more cost effective way to manage fuels.

01:19:49 PM  

Senator Lee questioned Mr. Addington about the risks of prescribed burns.  Mr. Addington described the risk planning process that is undertaken before a prescribed burn.  He also noted that most prescribed fires are safe and effective.

01:22:18 PM  

Mr. Addington explained that the Nature Conservancy is analyzing constraints and opportunities for prescribed burning.  He noted the possibility of increasing immunity for both governments and private landowners conducting prescribed burns.  He discussed his hope for a committee field trip to further engage on this issue.

01:25:50 PM  

Representative Snyder discussed fire mitigation in private home communities in Colorado Springs.  He questioned Mr. Addington about revisiting mitigation 7-10 years later.  Mr. Addington discussed the benefit of maintained undeveloped land within a community, and he noted that certain types of vegetation do grow back after several years.  He added that continued mitigation can be easier to maintain over time.

01:33:37 PM  

Mr. Addington responded to a question from Representative Snyder about how to prioritize areas of forest for mitigation.  He discussed the importance of risk assessment, including assessing the value that is at risk.  Representative Snyder and Mr. Addington continued to discuss wildfire prevention strategy, including defensible space and landscape resiliency.  Mr. Addington referenced the National Wildland Fire Management Cohesive Strategy.

01:41:13 PM  

Representative Carver asked about follow-up data collection for research done in the US Forest Service's Manitou Experimental Forest.  Mr. Addington discussed the project and agreed to provide the committee with additional information.  He further discussed the research and data collection components of other landscape management practices.

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