Mark Udall welcomed the Federal Emergency Management Agency's decision to approve a Fire Management Assistance Grant for the agencies fighting the Wetmore Fire in Custer County.
"FEMA's decision to approve a Fire Management Assistance Grant for the agencies fighting the Wetmore Fire is welcome news," Udall said. "This help ensures that local firefighting agencies can focus on protecting lives and property instead of worrying about running out of money. I plan to monitor the Wetmore Fire and help local agencies secure whatever federal resources they need to contain and extinguish this blaze."
The FMAG assistance assures local firefighting agencies that the federal government will cover 75 percent of the costs associated with fighting the Wetmore Fire. FEMA has approved the use of FMAG assistance for other Colorado fires this year, including the Waldo Canyon, High Park, Lower North Fork and Weber fires.
"Colorado has experienced one of the most severe fire seasons on record," Udall added. "For every fire, I have pushed the federal government to do everything it can to help our firefighters and first responders protect Colorado communities. I will continue to work with our local, state and federal fire agencies to ensure that we do everything we can to help them succeed."
Earlier this year, Udall successfully pushed Congress and the president to pass legislation to help the U.S. Forest Service more quickly acquire seven next-generation large air tankers. Several of these air tankers have helped fight fires across the Rocky Mountain West this year.
Udall, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has been a leader nationally and in Colorado on forest health and wildfire issues. Udall recently requested a federal review of the Waldo Canyon Fire and attended the 2012 Forest Health Summit in Denver. Udall and Sen. Michael Bennet also recently requested that the U.S. Forest Service study the Waldo Canyon and High Park fires to understand the social, economic, organizational and ecological impacts of both fires as well as to understand how to mitigate the impact of future fires.
Udall also has been a champion of encouraging homeowners living in wildfire-prone areas to take the steps necessary to lower their wildfire risk. According to a U.S. Forest Service study of the 2010 Fourmile Canyon Fire in Boulder County -- a study Udall requested -- the condition of the Home Ignition Zone, the design, materials and the maintenance of the home and the area 100 feet around it, is critical to determining if a home will survive a wildfire.
For more information on how you can work on wildfire prevention for your home or in your community, please visit www.ready.gov/wildfires.