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State Forest Service to provide $1 million for wildfire prevention

Trees aren’t the only thing in the forest the Colorado State Forest Service is trying to protect. Their dollars are helping residents too.

The Colorado State Forest Service recently announced that applications for around $1 million in grants had opened with the intent of funding projects mitigating wildfire risk near urban areas, wrote Ryan Lockwood, communications manager for the CSFS.

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“The competitive grant program is designed to reduce risk to people and property in the wildland-urban interface and support long-term ecological restoration,” Lockwood wrote.

Diana Selby, program leader for the Forest Restoration and Wildfire Risk Mitigation Program, said in an email to The Collegian that money was provided to the CSFS by the state of Colorado through the passage of a new House bill.

The money provided by the government amounts to around $1 million of funding to be administered by the CSFS to projects targeting non-federal lands, Lockwood wrote.

A fallen burnt tree
A fallen tree in a burnt stand near the bottom of the Poudre Canyon. (Ryan Schmidt | Collegian)

Many Coloradans live in such areas, and by reducing wildfire damage risk, the residents of the area and the forest benefit, Lockwood wrote.

The money from the Forest Restoration and Wildfire Risk Mitigation Grant Program is meant to support community-level action across the entire state in order to minimize damage to people, property and infrastructure within the wildlands-urban interface, Selby wrote.

Funding has been organized into a competitive grant program that will issue money to applicants that have a strategic plan for wildlife and water table protection.

These funds are meant to assist with efforts that benefit a substantial number of people and are not meant to benefit just one landowner, Selby wrote.

Grant selection will favor proposals that are implemented strategically across land ownership boundaries, are conducted within a priority area of Colorado and include forest treatments that result in the protection of water supplies, Lockwood wrote.

The competitive grant program is designed to reduce risk to people and property in the wildland-urban interface and support long-term ecological restoration,” Ryan Lockwood, Communications Manager for the CSFS

Within this grant cycle, applicants can be awarded up to $250,000 but are required to match at least 50% of project costs, Selby wrote.

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The CSFS serves thousands of private landowners and hundreds of communities in Colorado each year to help reduce wildfire risk, address tree insect and disease concerns, protect water supplies and meet other forest management objectives,” Selby wrote.

Wildfires are natural and inevitable, but fires tend to be more destructive in areas where the forest is unhealthy, unmanaged or unnaturally dense, Lockwood wrote.

“The CSFS encourages forest stewardship across all land ownerships in Colorado to reduce wildfire risk to protect watersheds and people and improve forest health and resilience,” Selby wrote.

Corbin Reiter can be reached at news@collegian.com and on Twitter @CorbinReiter.

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