Skip to main content
Colorado General AssemblyToggle Main Menu
Agency NameToggle Agency Menu

I_WMRC_2016A 09/19/2016 Committee Summary

Final

STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING



WILDFIRE MATTERS REVIEW COMMITTEE

Date: 09/19/2016
ATTENDANCE
Time: 09:00 AM to 03:48 PM
Baumgardner
X
Buck
X
Place: HCR 0112
Cooke
X
Hamner
X
This Meeting was called to order by
Jones
X
Senator Roberts
Merrifield
*
Singer
*
This Report was prepared by
Thurlow
X
Vanessa Conway
Becker K.
X
Roberts
X
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call
Bills Addressed: Action Taken:
United States Forest Service

Biochar & Fuel From Forest Products

Wildfire Mitigation Successes in Boulder County

Local Government Matters Related to Wildfires

Presentation by Division of Fire Prevention and Control

Air Quality Control Related to Wildfires

Weather Forecasting and Forest Health

Public Testimony

Legislative Council Staff

Resolution 1

Joint Memorial 1

Bill 1
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

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

Recommendation(s) Approved

Recommendation(s) Approved

Recommendation(s) Approved





09:01 AM -- United States Forest Service



Jim Bedwell, Deputy Regional Forester for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) discussed fire management and suppression decision-making, effectiveness of forest treatment projects and prescribed fire, and grants and funding programs provided to local communities for wildfire prevention and mitigation. He also gave a powerpoint presentation showing several different photos and aerial maps of various wildfires (Attachment A) and distributed handouts on the Wallow Fire (Attachment B), long term retardant (Attachment C), the Rocky Mountain region (Attachment D), and a copy of his testimony (Attachment E).





160919 AttachA.pdf160919 AttachA.pdf160919 AttachB.pdf160919 AttachB.pdf160919 AttachC.pdf160919 AttachC.pdf160919 AttachD.pdf160919 AttachD.pdf160919 AttachE.pdf160919 AttachE.pdf





09:18 AM



Senator Baumgardner asked Mr. Bedwell a question about funding. The committee discussed the issue with Mr. Bedwell.



09:27 AM



Representative Hamner asked Mr. Bedwell a question about forest thinning, and about what the legislature can do to support USFS's work. Mr. Bedwell discussed limited budgets and community engagement. Mr. Bedwell and committee members continued to discuss projects with the State of Colorado, cooperation between the private timber industry and federal agencies, the impact of fire smoke, and forest thinning. Senator Roberts asked Mr. Bedwell about the USFS's intention regarding biomass fuel utilization. Mr. Bedwell and the committee discussed ways the committee and the legislature could support the USFS's mitigation, range permits, public education, and collaborative projects.



09:50 AM



Mr. Bedwell was joined by Harris Maceo, Acting Director for State and Private Forestry, USFS, and Curtis Heaton, Director of Safety, Fire, and Aviation Management, USFS. Committee members, Mr. Maceo and Mr. Heaton discussed program funding, funding sources, matching grants, leveraging limited resources, and cost per acre of mitigation and suppression efforts.



10:23 AM -- Biochar & Fuel From Forest Products



Wes Bolsen, representing Cool Planet, gave a presentation on non-food biomass products, soil health, and Cool Planet's proprietary method for transforming various forest products into useful biomass products.



10:38 AM



Representative Buck asked Mr. Bolsen about how the biochar samples would be used in soil. The committee continued to discuss the use, value, and cost of biomass products, and the cost of retrofitting existing unused biomass plants.



10:57 AM -- Wildfire Mitigation Successes in Boulder County



Cindy Domenico, Boulder County Commissioner, and Jim Webster, Project Manager of Wildfire Partners, gave a powerpoint presentation to the committee on significant wildfire events and mitigation efforts in Boulder County (Attachment F). They also answered committee questions regarding building codes, insurance requirements, and homeowner mitigation efforts.



160919 AttachF.pdf160919 AttachF.pdf







11:40 AM -- Local Government Matters Related to Wildfires



Meghan Dollar, representing the Colorado Municipal League, Brandy Delange, representing Colorado Counties Incorporated, and Ty Gates, Emergency Manager for Rio Blanco County, representing the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado spoke to the committee on local government matters related to wildfires. Ms. Dollar presented a handout (Attachment G) listing municipalities that have addressed wildfire mitigation in their communities and addressed specific local mitigation efforts in Nederland, Snowmass Village, and Blue River. Ms. Delange presented a packet of handouts (Attachment H) on efforts by Colorado counties to implement mitigation efforts. Mr. Gates presented a handout (Attachment I) and gave a brief presentation on wildfire issues in Rio Blanco County.



160919 AttachG.pdf160919 AttachG.pdf160919 AttachH.pdf160919 AttachH.pdf160919 AttachI.pdf160919 AttachI.pdf



11:56 AM



Senator Jones asked the panel to provide more detail in their handouts in the future.



12:00 PM



The committee recessed.



1:05 PM



The committee reconvened.



01:06 PM -- Presentation by Division of Fire Prevention and Control



Mike Morgan, Director of the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, and Melissa Lineberger, Director of the Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting, gave a powerpoint presentation to the committee (Attachment J) regarding wildfire suppression efforts in Colorado and the work of the Division of Fire Prevention and Control and the Center of Excellence. Vaughn Jones, representing the Division of Fire Prevention and Control, joined the panel to answer questions.



160919 AttachJ.pdf160919 AttachJ.pdf



01:38 PM



Representative Thurlow asked Director Morgan about leasing of multi-mission aircraft to other fire-prone states.



01:53 PM



The committee and the panel discussed local and state-level control, cost of maintaining suppression equipment when not in use, the Beaver Creek Fire, the decision to suppress or allow wildfire, chemical makeup of types of fire retardants, the Wildfire Risk Reduction Program, the Risk Fuels Reduction Program, and future funding opportunities.











02:22 PM -- Air Quality Control Related to Wildfires



Gordon Pierce, Program Manager of the Air Pollution Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, gave a powerpoint presentation regarding air quality, the Colorado smoke management program, smoke dispersion, the Clean Air Act, and prescribed burns. Mr. Pierce answered various committee questions about air quality and wildfire management.



02:50 PM -- Weather Forecasting and Forest Health



Dr. Tony Cheng, Director of the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute at Colorado State University, gave a powerpoint presentation regarding weather forecasting and forest health, including impact of pine beetles, former forest management techniques, weather-pattern changes, extreme weather, forest health vulnerability, assisted migration, and strategic funding.



03:13 PM -- Public Testimony



03:14 PM --
Dr. Ronal Larson, representing himself, testified on the issue of biochar and forest health.



03:17 PM -- Legislative Council Staff and Office of Legislative Legal Services



Damion Pechota, representing Legislative Council Staff, answered committee questions regarding the interim bill request process.







03:20 PM -- Resolution 1



Ashley Zimmerman, representing the Office of Legislative Legal Services, explained Resolution 1 (Attachment K) to the committee. The resolution concerns the Colorado General Assembly's support for the continued use of biochar.

160919 AttachK.pdf160919 AttachK.pdf
BILL: 1
TIME: 03:28:13 PM
MOVED: Baumgardner
MOTION: Adopt amendment to the title of Resolution 1. The motion passed without objection.
SECONDED:
VOTE
Baumgardner
Buck
Cooke
Hamner
Jones
Merrifield
Singer
Thurlow
Becker K.
Roberts
YES: 0 NO: 0 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: Pass Without Objection
BILL: 1
TIME: 03:26:28 PM
MOVED: Baumgardner
MOTION: Refer Resolution 1 (Attachment L), as amended, to the Committee on Legislative Council. The motion passed on a vote of 8-0.
SECONDED:
VOTE
Baumgardner
Yes
Buck
Excused
Cooke
Yes
Hamner
Yes
Jones
Yes
Merrifield
Yes
Singer
Yes
Thurlow
Yes
Becker K.
Excused
Roberts
Yes
Final YES: 8 NO: 0 EXC: 2 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS





Senators Baumgardner and Merrifield and Representatives Singer and Thurlow are assigned as co-prime sponsors.





03:30 PM -- Joint Memorial 1



Senator Jones explained Joint Memorial 1 (Attachment L) to the committee. The joint memorial concerns the need for the U.S. Congress to fund catastrophic wildfire response costs outside of federal forest management agencies' normal budgets.



160919 AttachL.pdf160919 AttachL.pdf

BILL: 2
TIME: 03:31:34 PM
MOVED: Jones
MOTION: Refer Joint Memorial 1 (Attachment L) to the Committee on Legislative Council. The motion passed on a vote of 8-0.
SECONDED:
VOTE
Baumgardner
Yes
Buck
Excused
Cooke
Yes
Hamner
Yes
Jones
Yes
Merrifield
Yes
Singer
Yes
Thurlow
Yes
Becker K.
Excused
Roberts
Yes
Final YES: 8 NO: 0 EXC: 2 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS







Senators Jones and Merrifield and Representatives Hamner and Thurlow are assigned as co-prime sponsors.



03:34 PM -- Bill 1




Representative Singer presented Bill 1 (Attachment M) to the committee. A reverse mortgage provides a cash advance to the borrower based on the equity in the borrower's principal residence. Under current law, the borrower must repay the advance if he or she does not occupy the home as their principal residence, with exceptions for temporary absences of up to 60 days or, if the property is adequately secured, up to one year. The bill adds an additional exception to the principal residence requirement for borrowers who are unable to live in their home for at least 60 days and fewer than five years due to a natural disaster or incident beyond the borrower's control making the home uninhabitable. The bill applies to reverse mortgages for homes that are rendered uninhabitable by a natural disaster occurring on or after the effective date of the bill.



160919 AttachM.pdf160919 AttachM.pdf

BILL: Bill 4
TIME: 03:35:54 PM
MOVED: Singer
MOTION: Refer Bill 1 (Attachment M) to the Committee on Legislative Council. The motion passed on a vote of 6-2.
SECONDED:
VOTE
Baumgardner
No
Buck
Excused
Cooke
No
Hamner
Yes
Jones
Yes
Merrifield
Yes
Singer
Yes
Thurlow
Yes
Becker K.
Excused
Roberts
Yes
Final YES: 6 NO: 2 EXC: 2 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS



Senator Jones and Representative Singer are assigned as prime sponsors.



03:48 PM



The committee adjourned.


COVID-19 Resources

Temporary Guidelines for Review and Comment Meetings

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