BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Residents of Colorado endure natural disasters, such as wildfire, floods, tornadoes and windthrows, each year. Colorado experienced its most destructive wildfire in state history with the Marshall Fire in December 2021, and wildfire continues to threaten and affect communities across the state. Frequently flash flood events occur in burn scars that can cause loss of life and destruction of property as was seen in the Buckhorn Canyon in July 2022.

two people plant seedlings on a slope in a burned area with mountains in the background.
Volunteers replant trees after the Waldo Canyon Fire. CSFS photo.

Following a disaster, rebuilding the lives and homes of people affected is always the highest priority, but soon people within these areas want to restore something else – their community. Planting trees is an important part of the renewal and healing process for residents, helping them restore valuable green space and recreate welcoming community spaces.

The Colorado Tree Coalition (CTC) offers the ReForest Colorado Grant Program to aid communities after natural disasters, such as wildfire. This program provides financial assistance to community grant applicants for tree replanting efforts. The CTC encourages state and local governments, school districts, neighborhood organizations or private non-profit groups to apply for grants to aid with replanting trees to restore the green canopy within their community.

“You can help. We’re asking Coloradans to donate to the CTC ReForest fund so there will always be grant funds available when disasters strike,” said Neal Bamesberger, CTC President. “Since the ReForest Colorado program was founded 20 years ago, the Colorado Tree Coalition has provided grants to dozens of communities across Colorado to plant trees following fires, floods, tornadoes, storms and other disasters.”

Funds for the ReForest Colorado program come from individuals, non-profit groups and businesses. All contributions go to affected communities for tree planting and tree-related expenses. In recent years, ReForest Colorado funds have helped numerous communities:

  • Glenwood Springs following the 2002 Coal Seam Fire
  • Cheesman Reservoir watershed area following the 2002 Hayman Fire
  • Town of Holly after 2007 tornado
  • Town of Ordway after a devastating 2008 wildfire
  • Town of Walsh after 2011 wildfires
  • Mountain Shadows neighborhood of Colorado Springs after 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire
  • Town of Lyons after 2013 floods
  • Cañon City in 2015-2016 after Royal Gorge Fire
  • El Paso County Justice Center in 2019, continued support after 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire
  • Akron and Haxtun after derecho winds in 2021

To contribute to the ReForest Colorado program and help communities plant trees after devastating wildfires and other natural disasters, visit the CTC website at www.coloradotrees.org and click on Donate.