Secretary Haaland joins senators to announce wildfire funding for Colorado 

Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper and Colorado U.S. Representative Joe Neguse joined U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Deb Haaland and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Chief Randy Moore in Boulder County as they announced over $33 million in funding from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) to help Colorado prevent and mitigate wildfires.  

“Climate change has made wildfires a year-round threat and we must prepare for it,” said Hickenlooper. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill funding announced today is a first step toward building more resilient communities as we confront this new reality.” 

During the roundtable discussion, Bennet discussed his bipartisan, bicameral Outdoor Restoration Partnership Act (ORPA) to make a historic investment in America’s forests and watersheds while creating millions of jobs in Colorado and across the West. This legislation will provide direct support to local, collaborative efforts to restore habitat, expand outdoor access, and mitigate wildfire. In August 2021, Bennet held an “Outdoor Restoration Partnership Act” Tour with stops in Denver, Clear Creek, Grand, and Routt counties to highlight the importance of forest and watershed health to economies throughout Colorado.  

“The people of Colorado need no reminding of the dire threat wildfire presents to states across the West,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “In 2020, Coloradans saw three of their largest fires on record. With the investments we’re announcing today, USDA will do its part to make your communities safer and our forests more resilient to our changing climate.” 

“These efforts to reduce wildfire risk to communities located in these landscapes are just the beginning,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “The first-year investments are a part of a 10-year strategy to reduce the exposure of communities and infrastructure to the risk of catastrophic wildfire. With each successive year we will plan and implement more, continuing to reduce the risks associated with extreme wildfire for communities in these vulnerable areas.” 

“Climate change continues to drive the devastating intersection of extreme heat, drought and wildland fire danger across the United States, creating wildfires that move with a speed and intensity previously unseen,” said Secretary Haaland. “Funding provided by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will support the Interior Department’s ongoing efforts to invest in the science and research that is needed to better understand the impacts of climate changes on wildland fire in order to better safeguard people, communities and resources. With so little room for error, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to wildland fire preparedness, mitigation and resilience.” 

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