On Monday, July 11, 2022, Governor Jared Polis announced a suite of wildfire prevention and forest health management grants for Colorado communities. Several partners and groups joined him on a private property near Evergreen. This visit also highlighted the important wildfire mitigation work that the Colorado Youth Conservation Corp has been doing in this area.

Wildfire mitigation is incredibly important in Colorado. In summer 2020 we saw the three largest wildfires in our state’s history, and in December 2021, we experienced the Marshall Fire, the most destructive fire in Colorado history.

man speaks at podium wiht linge of people behind him and mountain view in the background
State Forester Matt McCombs describes actions the Colorado State Forest Service is taking to help Coloradans prepare for wildfire. DNR photo.

State Forester Matt McCombs attended and provided encouragement to all Coloradans: “We are not powerless in the face of climate change and increasing wildfire risk in our state. We can reduce fire risk and prepare ourselves for the inevitable.”

McCombs then went on to list some of the bold actions the Colorado State Forest Service is taking thanks to the support from Governor Polis and the Colorado legislature:

  • $15 million in grants available to Colorado communities
  • $5 million to invest in the CSFS seedling nursery to help restore burned areas
  • Robust outreach and education effort to help Coloradans know how to reduce their risk of wildfire
  • Removing fuels around communities and watersheds

“Colorado now has a nearly year-round fire season and our administration in partnership with the legislature are stepping up to better support first responders and communities. More work needs to be done to help protect our homes, our forests and our air so we are continuing our efforts and committing ourselves to significantly expand our wildfire prevention work,” Governor Jared Polis said.

And thanks to groups like the Colorado Youth Conservation Corp, some of this work is already happening. It helps communities like Evergreen as well as the individuals involved.

“I find this work rewarding with unique opportunity to see a tangible outcome from the service we provide. When we complete a forest-thinning project, you can see how the actions we have taken will prevent severe wildfire,” said Hilary Hiatt, a senior crewleader with Mile High Youth Corps.

Dan Gibbs from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Jefferson County Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper, and State Representative Lisa Cutter were at the event as well.

Read more from Governor Polis.