Colo. Gov. Authorizes $2.2 Million in State Emergency Funds for Wildfire; Signs Legislation for WERF

April 6, 2004

Colorado Gov. Bill Owens has issued an executive order declaring the Picnic Rock fire a state disaster emergency.

The Governor’s action authorizes up to $2.2 million in state disaster emergency funds to help cover the costs of the fire in Larimer County. The request for the emergency declaration was made by the State Forest Service.

In another fire-related move, Owens signed legislation which encourages additional financial support for the state’s Wildfire Emergency Response Fund and also authorizes the State Forest Service to tap the fund to pay for the first hour of a firefighting helicopter at a wildfire.

“The initial attack on a wildfire is critical,” Owens said. “Each summer, I have authorized funding for several air tankers to be in position here in Colorado. Our strategy of pre-positioning resources has proven to be very successful and this new law adds yet another tool, making sure that funds are available for initial helicopter attacks on wildfires.”

The Colorado Forest Service reports that 95 percent of the fires in 2003 were controlled at under 10 acres.

The bill also authorizes the State Forest Service to seek and accept gifts, grants, reimbursements or donations from public or private sources for the Wildfire Emergency Response Fund.

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