Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet thanked the Federal Emergency Management Agency today for the more than $1.9 million it awarded to the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention to reimburse the state and local agencies for part of their costs fighting the High Park Fire, which burned 87,284 acres in Larimer County and destroyed 259 homes.
"Colorado experienced one of the most destructive fire seasons on record in 2012 -- with fires burning in the state as late as early December," Udall said. "FEMA's first round of funds for state and local firefighting agencies ensures that our first responders in Larimer County and across the region don't start 2013 in the red. It is my hope that the 2013 wildfire season is less severe than 2012, but it is good to know that our federal partners have our backs."
"After a summer of devastating wildfires and severe drought, our state's first responders have been stretched to their limits," Bennet said. "The damage caused by these fires was costly. These resources from FEMA will help ensure that local firefighters and other agencies in Larimer County will have the resources they need to continue to keep our communities safe."
Udall and Bennet have been strong advocates ensuring that Colorado communities have the resources they need before, during and after wildfires to confront these destructive blazes, protect lives and restore their drinking water supplies.
Last month, Udall and Bennet introduced a bill to boost resources for the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program. And in November 2012, Bennet and Udall, along with Representatives Jared Polis, Doug Lamborn and Cory Gardner, urged the president and Appropriations Committee leaders to include the EWP Program in the Sandy disaster supplemental.
Udall and Bennet also recently introduced an amendment to the U.S. House of Representatives' proposal to keep the government running for the next six months, commonly referred to as the Continuing Resolution, to secure emergency funding for the EWP program.