Location: SCR 357
Budget Overview and Fire Coordination
WILDFIRE MATTERS REVIEW COMMITTEE
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10:24 AM -- Budget Overview and Fire Coordination
Mike Lester, Director of the Colorado State Forest (CSFS), provided a packet of information (Attachment B). He discussed the current stewardship programs in Colorado's forests and partnerships with private land owners. Mr. Lester also discussed the state's role in the National Cohesive Strategy: resilient landscapes, fire adapted communities, and safe and effective fire response. He spoke on the reduction of fire intensity if mitigated areas. Mr. Lester provided an overview and discussed the success of the Wildfire Risk Reduction grants. He spoke about the CSFS's role in fire adapted communities and the Community Wildfire Protection Plans. Mr. Lester discussed models to identify areas of high risk.
Mr. Lester continued to discuss wildfire risks and statewide mitigation efforts. He said that over 30% of Colorado's forests are on private land, which accounts for 7 million acres of forest land. Mr. Lester provided an overview of the CFSF budget, including state and federal funding. He also provided an overview of CSFS's expenditures.
Mr. Lester spoke on Senate Bill 17-050,, which includes the reauthorization of the Healthy Forest Vibrant Communities Act. He spoke on the funding challenges for the CSFS.
Mr. Lester answered questions from the committee regarding the continuation of the Wildfire Matters Review Committee. He also answered questions regarding the location of the CSFS in the Colorado State University (CSU) system. Mr. Lester discussed the funding for CSFS from CSU. He spoke on the funding from severance taxes, and said that the last time it was fully funded was 2014.
Senator Jones discussed the importance of CSU studies on forest and wildfire issues. Mr. Lester answered questions regarding the U.S. Forest Service budget and the issues of fire borrowing.
Mr. Lester answered questions from the committee regarding CSFS and the insurance industry. He discussed mitigation programs in Flagstaff, Arizona. Mr. Lester spoke on the Wildfire Task Force Report.
Senator Jones discussed wildfire risks in Boulder, Colorado.
The committee recessed.
The committee came back to order.