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I_WMRC_2019A 07/25/2019 09:04:25 AM Committee Summary

PUBLIC
STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
INTERIM COMMITTEE  WILDFIRE MATTERS REVIEW COMMITTEE
Date 07/25/2019
Attendance
Carver X
Coram X
Crowder X
Cutter *
Fenberg X
Fields *
McCluskie E
Will X
Lee X
Snyder X
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call
Time 09:04:25 AM to 03:35:25 PM
Place HCR 0112
This Meeting was called to order by Representative Snyder
This Report was prepared by April Bernard
Hearing Items Action Taken
Opening Remarks Committee Discussion Only
Colorado State Forest Service Committee Discussion Only
Colorado Resiliency Office Committee Discussion Only
Bureau of Land Management - Fire and Aviation Program Committee Discussion Only
Insurance and Wildfires Committee Discussion Only
Lunch Break Committee Discussion Only
The Nature Conservancy Committee Discussion Only
County Perspective on Wildfire Matters Committee Discussion Only
Overview of Bill Request Process Committee Discussion Only
Public Testimony Committee Discussion Only

Opening Remarks - Committee Discussion Only


09:04:44 AM  

Representative Snyder made opening remarks about the committee, noting several important projects related to fires, such as restoration efforts in the Waldo Canyon fire area.  He also talked about the importance of protecting the state from fire, as there are currently 12 fires burning in the Western United States.

09:06:55 AM  

Senator Lee made opening remarks about the committee.  He suggested that examining the impacts on communities and landscapes after a fire is important.  He referred to a letter from Gary Barrett that should be addressed by the committee (Attachment A).

09:08:23 AM  

Committee members mentioned other subjects of importance may include beetle kill, including invasion into other areas, and growth after a fire. 



Colorado State Forest Service - Committee Discussion Only


09:09:15 AM  

Mike Lester, Colorado State Forest Service, spoke about the work of the agency and distributed an informational packet to the committee (Attachment B).  The Forest Service is part of Colorado State University, headquartered in Fort Collins.  The forest service acts as a steward for the forests in Colorado.  Mr. Lestor discussed the agencies funding is as follows: federal grants (32 percent), state general fund and grants (27 percent), self funded (23 percent), and severance taxes (18 percent). 

He addressed the importance of forests and forest health.  He stated that seventy-two percent of residents participate in outdoor recreation and that forest health contributes to tourism and jobs, as well as water quality.

09:14:19 AM  

Mr. Lester addressed challenges and opportunities for the agency.  He mentioned that last year more acres burned than in any other year, except 2002 and that forty million dollars was spent on fire suppression during the last fire season. 

About three million people live in wildland urban interface (WUI) areas.  In fact, the WUI is close to 25 percent developed, so proactive wildfire mitigation is important.  This year, the agency is spending one million dollars in grant funding for forest health.  Mr. Lester stated that on average, every dollar spent on mitigation saves three dollars on fire suppression.

Mr. Lester talked about CO-WRAP, a web-based map tool that allows users to assess wildfire risks.  The tool has many layers in the map, including the likelihood for an area to burn, intensity of fires, as well as historic fire information.  CO-WRAP provides an interface between the public and planning officials and assists with community planning efforts. 

He discussed the opportunity to provide a predictable funding source for fire suppression and mitigation efforts, as the current funding structure is highly variable.  The agency receives a variety of grant funding, including restoration grants through severance taxes and mitigation grants through the Department of Natural Resources.  There are typically more grant applications than funds available. 

He also mentioned that the agency is facing capacity constraints, growing wildfire risks, and treating acres is expensive in the front range.  Twenty four million forested acres with a high risk of fire exist in the front range.

09:25:21 AM  

Mr. Lester discussed the forest action plan, a 10-year-plan required by the federal government.  Every state completes this process to look at needs and how to address them.  The agency is currently working on the 2020 plan, due June 2020.  Draft reviews will take place in mid-August this year.  The forest service will seek feedback around the state.

09:26:37 AM  

Mr. Lester discussed that shared stewardship is important to the Forest Service.  The agency is planning with federal partners, looking at resources, protecting the forest, and focusing on areas that make the biggest impact.  Other recent partnerships include the Nature Conservancy and the Natural Resource Conservation Service. 

09:28:44 AM  

There was discussion about California and the similarities with regards to conditions, such as landscape, weather, and the WUI.

09:31:27 AM  

Mr. Lester will provide a map of the wildland urban interface, as there were questions about the accuracy of population figures.  He will also provide a breakdown of actual costs spent on fire to address questions about the net amount of state spending or the amount that Colorado spent that the federal government will reimburse. 

09:33:24 AM  

Mr. Lester responded to questions about river bed management and grazing to manage areas with dead grass.  The forest health advisory council addresses grazing.  He mentioned that vegetation health is important to keeping the soil in place.  There were additional questions about state agencies that may supervise the maintenance of rivers, including the buildup of silt,  as well as mitigation that stops a fire at a particular area or line.

09:38:40 AM  

Mr. Lester responded to questions about beetle kill.  He mentioned that the mountain pine beetle activity is tapering off.  However, spruce beetles are taking off, with 5.4 million acres impacted over the last five years.  The issue is the unpredictable way the dead trees burn and the agency is working on solutions through better forest management.

09:43:05 AM  

Mr. Lester responded to questions about forest management, discussing how agencies are working on overcrowded conditions.  He discussed how prescribed fire may be helpful, however, it is tough to use prescribed burns in dense conditions.  

09:45:11 AM  

The discussion turned to collaboration and partnerships with land owners and government.  Mr. Lester indicated that the Forest Service works with local governments to build relationships.  In fact, county commissioners serve on several committees, including forest health and fire prevention and control. 

09:48:46 AM  

Mr. Lester indicated that landowners are always part of the collaboration as well.  However, limited staff makes outreach efforts challenging.  The Forest Service typically works with homeowner and landowner associations, rather than individuals.  There is a page on the Forest Service website devoted to individual landowners, including defensive space and forest health.

09:53:14 AM  

Drinking water and the Good Neighbor Agreement were discussed.  There are currently 12 Forest Service projects involving the Good Neighbor Agreement.  This legal mechanism assists with completion of projects on private, local, state, and federal lands by allowing the U.S. Forest Service to enter into agreements with state forest service agencies to manage the forest. 

09:55:18 AM  

Discussion continued regarding funding for wildfires on prairies.  Mr. Lester indicated that the Forest Service does not do a lot of work on prairie lands.

09:55:59 AM  

Coordinated responses between the federal, state, and local governments were discussed. There is some frustration in coordinating efforts to fight active fire.  The Forest Service focuses on mitigation and fuel reduction.  The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control focuses on fire management.

09:57:36 AM  

Mr. Lester responded to a question about actions to put the Forest Service in a better position for fire mitigation.  Grant program funds are helpful.  However, the variance in severance money makes management difficult.  In addition, a healthy forest service products industry would be helpful.  In other states funds are received from landowners for mitigation.  In Colorado, the Forest Service is billed for mitigation work.  



Colorado Resiliency Office - Committee Discussion Only


10:02:00 AM  

Anne Miller, Colorado Resiliency Office, distributed her presentation (Attachment C).  The office is part of the Department of Local Affairs, moving there in 2017.  The office was established as part of the Governor's Office in response to the devastating fires and floods in Northern Colorado in 2012 and 2013.  The office assists communities in preparing for wildfire and supports recovering communities.

10:04:49 AM  

The Colorado Resiliency Working Group was formed in 2014 with membership from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and local organizations.  The goal is to think proactively and respond with a multi-sector approach.  Resiliency, as defined in statute, is the ability of communities to rebound and positively adapt or thrive in response to changing conditions and challenges.  It is important to preserve quality of life for healthy growth, a strong environment, and to protect resources.

10:06:28 AM  

The office partnered with the University of Colorado at Denver to survey local governments about their attitudes, experiences, and needs pertaining to challenges or disruptions facing communities.  Responses indicated that local governments see adaptation broadly and are concerned with impacts to public health, infrastructure, local businesses, and the economy.  Communities are also concerned about risks pertaining to drought and wildfire and acknowledge that climate change may be increasing the risks.  

10:10:10 AM  

Ms. Miller stated that resilient communities understand risk and take measures to prepare for the risk.

10:10:50 AM  

She discussed that the resiliency office is the state lead for the Resiliency and Community Recovery Program.  Work includes long-term recovery and technical assistance for local governments and other state agencies.

10:12:28 AM  

Ms. Miller mentioned how the resiliency office assisted with recovery efforts related to the Spring Fire, especially flood risk from fire and how recovery plan grants funded preparation and early warning.

She also mentioned how tools that support local governments in understanding risks and preparing are helpful, including model codes and information on different hazards and how to prepare.  Planning workbooks are on the resiliency website.  Other options include workshops and peer networks.

10:22:05 AM  

In response to a question about climate, Ms. Miller responded that the Colorado Resiliency Office is looking at climate and drought trends in participation with other groups.  A committee member commented that peer networks have been helpful in rural colorado.

10:23:43 AM  

All local communities have participated in programs and developed local plans. The survey with the University of Colorado at Denver revealed that more communities are developing resiliency plans.

10:27:27 AM  

Ms. Miller indicated that furthering efforts should include additional resources and creating a sense of urgency, look at resources needed to support activities and fund planning efforts and land use codes, and a sense of urgency in completing resiliency work on this issue across groups is important, including regional, statewide and federal groups. 



Bureau of Land Management - Fire and Aviation Program - Committee Discussion Only


10:31:38 AM  

Brian Achziger, representing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Fire and Aviation program, provided a PowerPoint presentation (Attachment D) and distributed an informational packet (Attachment E).  The BLM is housed within the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI).  Thirty percent of of the workforce in DOI is fire related, while 35 percent of BLM funding is spent on fires.  The BLM is a three tier organization with a national office in Washington DC, state offices, and district and field offices.  The national office provides leadership, oversight, policy, and budgeting.  Twelve state fire offices, primarily in the west, coordinate policies and interagency relationships.

He explained that on the ground fire management happens at the district level.  There are three districts in Colorado and four fire units.  Each district office has a fire management officer and a fire chief.  The four fire units include the Front Range Unit in Canon City; the Northwest Unit in the Craig, Meeker, Kremmling area; the Interagency Fire Management Unit along the I-70 corridor from Utah to the Eisenhower Tunnel in the White Mountain Forest; and the Southwest Unit in Montrose.

10:39:37 AM  

There was discussion about coordination with local fire districts, specific command and control structure, and getting the appropriate equipment.  Mr. Achzinger indicated that there is a statewide master agreement and annual operating plan at the state level that addresses how coordination will occur between local fire districts and the federal government, as well as local operating agreement plans.  Meetings occur throughout the winter before fire season to prepare for coordinated efforts during fire season.  Fire centers also coordinate with each other when reporting a fire.  There is a pre-planned response for dispatch resources, including local governments.

Typically, the first person on scene is the commander in charge of the fire.  If a fire is multi-jurisdiction a unified command may be created, including two to three people.  These details should be worked out in the annual operating plan, pre fire season.

Interoperability between communication devices (phones) and channel communication is a challenge.  There is a statewide annual communication plan, however, there are issues with communications in most states.  Federal agencies are licensed to use band radios, which are different than local communication devices.  In Colorado, 800 or 600 megahertz radios are used by locals so they have both types of radios.  In using different technology, patching radio frequencies is often done.

10:46:42 AM  

There was a discussion about staffing, including moving seasonal staff to full time after the season.  Mr. Achziger indicated that there are 170 total staff members, some of which are seasonal.  When not fighting fires staff complete other work, such as mitigation.  Staff may also be sent to other states if needed.

10:48:59 AM  

Mr. Achzinger talked about division equipment.  He indicated that the prior season, as well as historical data, is used in determining resource distribution.  Planning is also done with the state aviation manager.  The plan for resources is often reviewed throughout the fire season.

In Colorado, the BLM may work with partners utilizing drones to identify fires.  There was also a discussion about using cameras on towers to triangulate the location of a fire.  The 2018 fire season was busy, including 2600 flight hours and dropping more than 2 million gallons of retardant.

10:55:33 AM  

He stated that the fuels program treated 44,000 areas, with a focus on the WUI and communities adjacent to the area. 

10:56:31 AM  

Mr. Achziger discussed community assistance programs.  In 2018, ninety-two communities were assisted, using $534,000, 890 acres and 1100 homes on non-federal lands were protected, and 307 education events were held.

10:57:44 AM  

Rural fire readiness was discussed, including the direct transfer of excess equipment, such as fire engines to local fire departments or counties.  Recently, three engines and one command vehicle were provided to the Moffat County Sheriff. 

10:59:31 AM  

Mr Achziger stated the seasonal outlook for fires is hard to predict.  However, it appears that there may be more lower elevation fires, due to the wet winter snows in the higher elevations.

11:03:03 AM  

There was a discussion about the final call on deployment of aerial resources.  Mr. Achziger indicated that first responders deploy those resources. He went on to explain that things get complicated in a big fire season, as there are only so many resources.  Resources may first be prioritized by local dispatch services and then by the BLM.  The BLM looks at threat to life first, including the public and firefighters.  Beyond the local level the decision could go to the national level for resources such as large air tankers.

11:06:59 AM  

Mr. Achziger responded to questions concerning the agency's location stating that BLM has always been housed in the DOI. 



Insurance and Wildfires - Committee Discussion Only


11:08:20 AM  

Peg Brown, Chief Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Insurance, provided a PowerPoint on property and casualty insurance (Attachment F).  Deputy Commissioner Brown discussed the fire in Paradise, California, including that there were $8.3 billion in losses and more than 10,000 buildings that were more than 50 percent destroyed.  She stated that prevention is important, including fire safe building materials and mitigation and that the division is working with partners at the Colorado Resiliency Office, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Forest Service, and others to bring more focus on mitigation.

11:22:57 AM  

There was a discussion about tiered insurance rates to differentiate between customers that mitigate and those that don't.

11:24:04 AM  

The discussion turned to preventing a Paradise fire type situation in Colorado.  Deputy Commissioner Brown explained that ensuring mitigation is complete will be important, as well working with the Colorado Department of Transportation and local agencies to ensure adequate access to escape routes.  There was also a discussion about building materials and how local building codes could be strengthened and become a part of mitigation and resiliency.  Some communities are currently looking at this. 

11:26:42 AM  

The lack of insurance coverage for homeowners rebuilding historic homes was discussed.  Deputy Commissioner Brown stated that the Division of Insurance is looking at this issue, but the state cannot make insurance companies stay in an area.

11:29:31 AM  

Carole Walker, Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Association, provided information about the insurance industry.  Ms. Walker represents Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah.  She works to help citizens understand how to protect their homes and finances.  She stated that Colorado has one of the fastest rising insurance rates, in part due to hail.  She mentioned that the association is looking at putting energy into community mitigation programs focusing on WUI areas. 

11:35:58 AM  

Ms. Walker indicated that the Division of Insurance is a partner in outreach efforts.  The new Colorado Property and Insurance Wildfire Preparedness Guide (Attachment G) was created with the division.  She also discussed a partnership with realtors in creating a social media program about different perils.

11:39:37 AM  

The committee discussed instances of consumers not being able to buy insurance after a fire destroyed their houses.

11:41:11 AM  

Deputy Commissioner Brown explained that the Division of Insurance is working on an education program for consumers, perhaps to be called In the Know.

11:42:49 AM  

She answered questions about adequate insurance coverage in high risk areas, as well as cost.  She explained that the division is organizing a data call about available insurance and cost that will be used as a baseline to determine what changes need to be made.  The division is in the planning stages for the call.

11:44:42 AM  

Ms. Brown responded to questions about options for rebuilding in high risk areas, such as reinsurance, surplus, or pooled insurance.  She mentioned a fair plan or state managed pool to help rebuild immediately, but stated that there may be solvency issues with these types of programs.  Current states with funds include Texas (windstorm fund) and California (earthquake fund).

There was also a discussion about insurance cost and hail.  Ms. Walker said that volatile storms are a problem because replacement costs are challenging and Colorado has an increasing population.  Deputy Commissioner Brown noted that the Institute for Business and Home Safety is testing building materials for hail resistance.  Other organizations testing building materials include the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder.

11:52:01 AM  

There was a discussion about changes in weather conditions.  The panelists explained that there are separate deductibles for both hail and wind and there may be large deductibles and percentage deductibles for other perils.

11:55:46 AM  

Mitigation efforts in coastal areas, including partnerships between local officials and insurance companies, were discussed.  The panelists explained that when mitigation efforts are complete and loss still exists perhaps requirements for mitigation and resiliency need adjustment and that partnerships are important between insurance companies and local communities.

11:59:31 AM  
The committee recessed for lunch.



Lunch Break - Committee Discussion Only




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.



County Perspective on Wildfire Matters - Committee Discussion Only

01:47:15 PM  

Karn Stiegelmeier, Summit County Commissioner, discussed wildfire issues in Summit County.  She provided information about Summit County's fire ban criteria (Attachments I and J), noting that the US Forest Service is currently using different criteria than the county.  She discussed successes in Summit County, including their ongoing fire mitigation plan, which sets priority areas and guides grant requests.  In response to committee member questions, she explained that the grants use county funds, and the county will pay 50 percent of the costs when private citizens do mitigation projects.

01:53:24 PM  
Commissioner Stiegelmeier discussed Summit
County's chipping program, where the county will chip vegetation that homeowners
gather and pile, noting the program's popularity.  She suggested that
the state review and expand its mitigation grants.  She discussed
the county's efforts to fund additional seasonal US Forest Service rangers
to manage campgrounds in the county.  She stated that overall the
county pays about $1 million annually toward fire prevention.
01:58:10 PM  
Representative Snyder and Commissioner Stiegelmeier discussed the ability of local governments to work with the federal government on wildfire mitigation.
02:00:07 PM  

Kathy Chandler-Henry, Eagle County Commissioner, discussed the Lake Christine Fire in Eagle County in 2018.  Birch Baron, Eagle County Emergency Manager, discussed the county's assumptions that people will continue to build in the county and fires will continue to ignite.  He provided a handout for the committee (Attachment K). He discussed the importance of mitigation and initial response. He explained that enforcement and incentives are both important.

02:06:47 PM  

Mr. Baron explained that Colorado needs a coordinated statewide mutual aid program.  He added that fire districts need alternative funding sources besides property taxes, as high property tax bases do not always correspond to high risks.  He discussed flooding and debris after the Lake Christine Fire, and the limits of the federal government's ability to warn residents of flooding.  Representative Snyder further discussed the flooding issue.

02:11:45 PM  
Mr. Baron responded to questions from Senator
Lee about fire district funding, agreeing to research possible regional
models.  Representative Carver noted that the statewide fire commission
will be working on this issue as well.  Commissioners Chandler-Henry
and Stiegelmeier, and Jefferson County Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper responded
to a question from Senator Crowder about the impact of the Gallagher Amendment
on their fire districts.
02:16:39 PM  

Commissioner Chandler-Henry responded to a question from Senator Fields about firefighting costs.  She explained that the county has to pay up front even if many costs are reimbursed. Commissioner Dahlkemper noted Jefferson County's efforts to "de-Bruce" the county in 2019. Commissioner Stiegelmeier explained that it can take years to wrap up the accounting after a wildfire.  Mr. Baron further discussed the uncertainty of firefighting costs.

02:22:02 PM  

Lesley Dahlkemper, Jefferson County Commissioner, discussed wildfire mitigation in Jefferson County. She provided a slideshow (Attachment L), and she introduced additional staff from the county sheriff's office, county open space, and the Elk Creek Fire Protection District.  She noted that Evergreen and Conifer, in Jefferson County, top the state for the number of housing units in the high and extreme wildfire risk categories.

02:28:02 PM  

Commissioner Dahlkemper described the county's slash program, the sheriff's fire management program, and other county mitigation efforts. She also discussed funding and challenges for Jefferson County's local fire departments, including a lack of volunteer firefighters and heavy equipment.  She explained that the county is examining WUI codes and what could be implemented through county building codes.

02:33:36 PM  

Dr. Andrew Rayburn, Jefferson County Open Space, responded to questions about the county's open space program.  He explained that the county owns most of the land by fee title and has a dedicated sales tax for open space. Chief Bill McLaughlin, Elk Creek Fire Department, responded to questions from Representative Cutter about his department staffing, noting that all his neighboring fire districts are also volunteer-based.  He explained that California and Washington are good examples of states with robust mutual aid programs for firefighting.  He discussed turning over command of a fire from local district to county to state to federal, noting that the transition to federal control is different from other levels.

02:46:36 PM  
Representative Carver and Senator Fields discussed the new Colorado Fire Commission.
02:47:27 PM  
Commissioner Dahlkemper responded to questions from Senator Crowder about county open space is taking land off the property tax roles. She explained that the county has a variety of budget issues and noted that the county's voters supported an additional sales tax for open space. Committee members discussed this point.
02:54:22 PM  

Senator Fenburg asked about homeless issues in the forests.  The counties answered that they are all dealing with the issue.

02:56:40 PM  

Representative Snyder asked how the legislature could assist in county efforts.  County commissioners mentioned that mitigation efforts are important, suggesting a mitigation fund that local governments could access with broad criteria, as well as expanded community awareness programs.



Overview of Bill Request Process - Committee Discussion Only


03:02:48 PM  

Jimmy Reed, Legislative Council Staff, reviewed the committee charge memo (Attachment M) and introduced committee staff.

03:05:36 PM  
Bob Lackner, Office of Legislative Legal Services, explained the bill drafting process for interim committees and introduced committee legal staff.
03:08:04 PM  
Senator Lee requested that staff prepare a history of bills coming from the Wildfire Matters Review Committee.
03:10:23 PM  

The committee discussed possible future agenda items.

03:25:47 PM  
The committee discussed potential tour opportunities and agreed to follow up on dates.



Public Testimony - Committee Discussion Only


03:28:04 PM  

Vaughn Jones, Division of Fire Prevention and Control, discussed appointments to the Colorado Fire Commission and its future work.  He addressed fire costs, noting that in 2018, the state spent $40 million for fire suppression over 18 incidents.  In the same year, the federal government spent $80 million.  He noted that these numbers do not include small fires that are handled locally or entirely on federal lands.  He also explained that some fires qualify for FEMA funding, including three in 2018, but the process is slow at reimbursements.


03:35:25 PM   The committee adjourned.






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