Glenwood Fire awarded state wildfire mitigation funds
Two Glenwood Springs-area neighborhoods that can be prone to the threat of wildfire will benefit from a state wildland-urban interface grant awarded last week, with more funding assistance possibly on the way, according to Glenwood Springs Fire Department officials.
Glenwood Fire was one of 33 recipients in 18 counties totaling $3.7 million statewide that were announced by Gov. John Hickenlooper under the Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant Program. The Glenwood Springs grant is for $34,650, and is one of just a few awarded on the Western Slope.
The grant will be used to help with ongoing wildfire mitigation efforts in the Canyon Creek Estates subdivision west of Glenwood Springs, said Ron Biggers, fire marshal for Glenwood Springs Fire and the surrounding rural fire protection district.
Coupled with a possible Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant that the department is still awaiting word on, that effort could be doubled and expanded to include similar efforts in the Highlands Subdivision on the north side of Glenwood Springs, Biggers said.
Both subdivisions applied and were approved for wildfire mitigation work, such as clearing vegetation, building fire breaks and creating defensible space around houses, under the federal Firewise Communities program, he said.
“We’re still waiting to hear back on the FEMA grant, which would about double our money,” Biggers said. “Even if we don’t get it, this [state] grant will still be used for mitigation efforts at Canyon Creek Estates.”
The Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant Program was created under Senate Bill 269, which was passed in 2013 by the Colorado General Assembly. It focuses on projects that reduce the risk for damage to property, infrastructure and water supplies, and limit the likelihood of wildfires spreading into populated areas. This is the third round of grants awarded under the program.
“Colorado has endured more than its fair share of natural disasters,” Gov. Hickenlooper said in a new release. “We continue to learn many valuable lessons, and one of them is that there is much we can do proactively to make our communities and residents safer.”
Part of the grant funding is intended to provide communities with equipment that will enable them to address wildfire hazards on state and private lands.
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Over 75,000 hikers visited Hanging Lake during this year’s peak season. Via signage, the city hopes to point more of those hikers also in the direction of downtown Glenwood Springs.