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I_WMRC_2017A 10/27/2017 09:46:04 AM Committee Summary

Final

STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING



WILDFIRE MATTERS REVIEW COMMITTEE

Date: 10/27/2017
ATTENDANCE
Time: 09:46 AM to 01:16 PM
Carver
X
Cooke
X
Place: SCR 352
Coram
X
Hamner
X
This Meeting was called to order by
Jones
X
Representative Becker K.
Merrifield
X
Singer
X
This Report was prepared by
Thurlow
X
Damion Pechota
Baumgardner
X
Becker K.
X
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call, R = Remote Participation
Bills Addressed: Action Taken:
Action on Committee Legislation

Further Action on Draft Bills

Update on California Wildfires

Biochar Technologies in Colorado

Colorado and Utah Wildfire Budget Process

Fire Prediction and NCAR Technology

Colorado Recovery and Resiliency Collaborative
Recommendation(s) Approved

Recommendation(s) Approved

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only





09:46 AM -- Action on Committee Legislation



Representative Becker gave an update regarding the committee's agenda. Copies of draft bills #1 and #2 and fiscal notes for the bills were distributed to the committee (Attachments A through D).



171027 AttachA.pdf171027 AttachA.pdf171027 AttachB.pdf171027 AttachB.pdf171027 AttachC.pdf171027 AttachC.pdf171027 AttachD.pdf171027 AttachD.pdf



09:47 AM



Senator Jones presented draft bill #1, which continues the Wildfire Matters Review Committee until 2025. Senator Jones discussed amendments to the bill.



09:51 AM --
Mike Morgan, representing the Division of Fire Prevention and Control within the Department of Public Safety, testified in support of extending the committee. Director Morgan stated that there are significant issues in the state regarding wildfires. He responded to questions from the committee.





09:55 AM



Kate Meyer, Office of Legislative Legal Services, responded to questions regarding amendments to draft bill #1. Committee discussion on the charge of the committee ensued. Amendment L.001 (Attachment E) was distributed to the committee.



171027 AttachE.pdf171027 AttachE.pdf

BILL: Action on Committee Legislation
TIME: 10:00:41 AM
MOVED: Jones
MOTION: Adopt Amendment L.001 (Attachment E). The motion passed without objection.
SECONDED: Carver
VOTE
Carver
Cooke
Coram
Hamner
Jones
Merrifield
Singer
Thurlow
Baumgardner
Becker K.
YES: 0 NO: 0 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 REMOTE PARTICIPATION: 0 FINAL ACTION: Pass Without Objection


BILL: Action on Committee Legislation
TIME: 10:02:41 AM
MOVED: Jones
MOTION: Refer Draft Bill #1, as amended, to Legislative Council for approval as an interim committee bill. The motion passed on a vote of 10-0.
SECONDED: Carver
VOTE
Carver
Yes
Cooke
Yes
Coram
Yes
Hamner
Yes
Jones
Yes
Merrifield
Yes
Singer
Yes
Thurlow
Yes
Baumgardner
Yes
Becker K.
Yes
YES: 10 NO: 0 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 REMOTE PARTICIPATION: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS



10:03 AM



The committee discussed the sponsorship of the bill. The bill will start in the Senate, with Senators Jones and Cooke as co-prime Senate sponsors and Representatives Thurlow and Exum as co-prime House sponsors. The remaining committee members were added as cosponsors.



10:07 AM



Ms. Meyers asked clarifying questions regarding the bill draft.



10:08 AM -- Further Action on Draft Bills



Representative Hamner discussed draft bill #2 (Attachment C). The bill concerns statutory provisions enacted to promote the extinguishment of unattended fires.



10:11 AM



Bob Lackner, Office of Legislative Legal Services, responded to questions from the committee regarding draft bill #2. Members of the committee commented on the bill. Mr. Lackner responded to questions from the committee regarding the bill's changes to existing penalties related to the extinguishment of unattended fires.





10:14 AM --
Mike Morgan, Division of Fire Control and Prevention in the Department of Public Safety, testified in support of the bill. He discussed the existing statute and the need to promote responsible use of lands.

BILL: Further Action on Draft Bills
TIME: 10:16:50 AM
MOVED: Hamner
MOTION: Refer Draft Bill #2 to Legislative Council for approval as an interim committee bill. The motion passed on a vote of 10-0.
SECONDED: Merrifield
VOTE
Carver
Yes
Cooke
Yes
Coram
Yes
Hamner
Yes
Jones
Yes
Merrifield
Yes
Singer
Yes
Thurlow
Yes
Baumgardner
Yes
Becker K.
Yes
YES: 10 NO: 0 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 REMOTE PARTICIPATION: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS



10:17 AM



The committee discussed the sponsorship of the bill. The bill will start as a House Bill with Representatives Hamner and Carver as co-prime House sponsors and Senators Merrifield and Coram as co-prime Senate sponsors. Representatives Singer, Thurlow, and Becker and Senators Cooke and Jones were added as cosponsors.



10:19 AM



Mr. Lackner discussed the draft bill's safety clause.





10:20 AM



Senator Jones requested that the committee sponsor a resolution. The language of the resolution was distributed to the committee (Attachment F).



171027 AttachF.pdf171027 AttachF.pdf

BILL: Further Action on Draft Bills
TIME: 10:22:13 AM
MOVED: Jones
MOTION: Refer the draft resolution to Legislative Council for approval as an interim committee resolution. The motion passed on a vote of 10-0.
SECONDED: Merrifield
VOTE
Carver
Yes
Cooke
Yes
Coram
Yes
Hamner
Yes
Jones
Yes
Merrifield
Yes
Singer
Yes
Thurlow
Yes
Baumgardner
Yes
Becker K.
Yes
YES: 10 NO: 0 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 REMOTE PARTICIPATION: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS



10:23 AM




The resolution will start in the Senate with Senators Jones and Baumgardner as co-prime Senate sponsors and Representatives Singer and Thurlow as co-prime House sponsors. The remaining members were added as cosponsors. The committee clarified that the Office of Legislative Legal Services has the authority to make technical changes to the resolution, including converting it to a memorial.



10:26 AM -- Update on California Wildfires



Mike Morgan, Division of Fire Control and Prevention within the Department of Public Safety, gave an update on the recent wildfires in California and the assistance that Colorado has provided to California. Director Morgan responded to questions from committee. The committee discussed the likelihood of a catastrophic wildfire event occurring in Colorado.



10:35 AM -- Biochar Technologies in Colorado



Tim Reader, Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS), discussed biochar and biofuels facilities in the state. He responded to questions from the committee regarding biochar and biofuel. Senator Coram discussed the potential for increasing the use of biochar and biofuels in the state.









10:44 AM



Mr. Reader discussed efforts of the CFSF to support businesses involved in biochar. He responded to questions from the committee regarding use of biochar products by orchards. He further responded to questions from the committee regarding the source of biochar for feedstock and standards for biochar products.





11:01 AM -- Colorado and Utah Wildfire Budget Process



Mike Morgan, Director, Division of Fire Prevention and Control, provided an overview of the budget process for Colorado compared to Utah's budget process concerning wildfires. He distributed a handout of his presentation (Attachment G). Director Morgan provided an overview of the Emergency Fire Fund (EFF) incidents.



171027 AttachG.pdf171027 AttachG.pdf



11:10 AM --
Vaughn Jones, Division Fire Prevention and Control, spoke on the resources available for emergency wildfire response. He provided an overview of the management officers located throughout the state.



Chief Jones answered a question regarding water enhancers used to combat wildfires.



11:20 AM



Director Morgan spoke on the current state statutes regarding emergency response.



Director Morgan answered a question regarding wildfires on federal land and the emergency fire funds. He also answered questions regarding the responsibilities of responding to a wildfire.



Director Morgan discussed the containment resources available when wildfires exceed local government capabilities. He also discussed the funding of containment equipment and resources.



11:31 AM



Chief Jones answered questions regarding aircraft response on federal land. He also answered a question concerning the timing of deploying aircraft.



The committee discussed federal use of aircraft for wildfires



11:35 AM --
Jeff Sorkin, United States Forest Service, answered questions from the committee regarding the use of equipment in wildfires.



Senator Jones spoke on current challenges regarding wildfires and suppression.



Director Morgan discussed the resources available for initial attacks for wildfire control. He provided an overview of wildfires and their causes for the 2016 wildfire season. He talked about the ways the division assists local governments.





11:45 AM



Director Morgan provided an overview of the EFF, which is paid by local government entities to provide funding for wildfire emergency responses. He discussed the process for when the EFF is depleted of funds and the determination of a state responsibility fire.



Director Morgan answered a question from the committee regarding complications for wildfire response. He spoke about the need of stakeholders to be more proactive about addressing issues with wildfires.



A memorandum from the Joint Budget Committee regarding the costs for mitigation, suppression, and recovery was distributed to the committee (Attachment H).



171027 AttachH.pdf171027 AttachH.pdf



11:56 AM



The committee members discussed the issues with public education on wildfire risks.



Director Morgan discussed the importance for mitigation work.



11:59 AM -- Fire Prediction and NCAR Technology



Brad Schmidt provided an overview of the Colorado Fire Prediction System (CO-FPS). He also discussed the collaboration with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Mr. Schmidt provided examples of simulations for predicting the movements of wildfires.



Mr. Schmidt spoke on the schedule and budget for the fire prediction system. He said that the system is moving beyond academic studies to assist fire managers. He said that the system is on a year five in the schedule to provide data and information for wildfire managers and local governments.



12:08 PM --
Barbara Brown, NCAR, provided an overview of the CAWFE system to produce forecasts for wildfire spreads and management support. She spoke on the importance of weather forecasting systems for aiding wildfires, including forecast models that predict 18 hours of wildfire activity.



Mr. Schimidt discussed a stakeholder committee that has met since 2015 and includes wildland fire managers from around the state. The committee has access to use the current version of the model and has made recommendations to improve the system. He also spoke on the long term vision for the CO-FPS tool and collaboration with the Colorado Forest Service for fuels data.



12:24 PM



Mr. Schmidt discussed the user interface and simulations available. He discussed the analysis available from the data collected.



Representative Kraft-Tharp came to the table to provide background information on the Colorado Fire Prediction System.



Mr. Schmidt answered questions from the committee regarding the timeline for completion. He discussed why the timeline was extended to five years to meet the need of the initial request.









Director Morgan spoke on the importance of collecting data and providing forecasts for fire managers. He answered questions about the benefit of the system to Colorado.



12:35 PM



Mr. Schmidt answered questions from the committee regarding the use of the data and availability of providing information to stakeholders during wildfire incidents.



Director Morgan answered questions from the committee regarding the use of the data as a tool. He said that the technology still needs development.



Ms. Brown answered questions from the committee regarding the collection of data and research. She said that it is important to have a development process to validate the system and provide the most useful information available.



Representative Kraft-Tharp spoke on the operational process for wildfire utilization process.



12:45 PM



Mr. Schmidt answered questions from the committee regarding the use of the data and input from stakeholders.



12:50 PM -- Colorado Recovery and Resiliency Collaborative



Gary Sanfacon, Boulder County Floor Recovery Manager, provided background information on the Colorado Recovery and Resiliency Collaborative in response to natural disasters.



12:53 PM --
Connie Sullican, Mayor of Lyons, spoke on recent natural disasters and the impacts to local governments.



12:54 PM --
Deb Gardner, Boulder County Commissioner, discussed recommendations for changes to state statute.



12:56 PM --
Lory Hodges, Larimer County Office of Emergency Management, discussed shifts in federal policy to be more proactive to wildfire response. She provided additional recommendations to state statute and procedures.



Ms. Hodges answered questions from the committee regarding how these recommendations would have helped local governments in past natural disasters.



Ms. Sullivan answered questions from the committee regarding the recovery process from the 2013 floods.



Mr. Sanfacon answered questions regarding the recovery process of the 2013 floods in Boulder County.



Commissioner Gardner discussed the flood recovery effort and efficiency.



Representative Singer spoke on disaster recovery efforts in Colorado and the lessons learned to assist other local governments.





01:06 PM



The panel discussed the current disaster response and recovery process.



01:16 PM



The committee adjourned.


The House and Senate are temporarily adjourned.  The building is closed to the public.

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