Two Colorado congressman have co-sponsored a bill to set aside federal emergency management money to help reduce wildfire danger in red zones, the volatile mix of forest, terrain and encroaching neighborhoods.
The bills would allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to work with states in providing funds for mitigation measures in high fire danger areas. It was introduced by Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif. and co-sponsored Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., and Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., along with other California congressmen. It would put wildfires on par with other natural
disasters such as floods and hurricanes in bringing federal resources to bear in the so-called wildland-urban interface.
Devastating wildfires in the Colorado’s red zones have destroyed hundreds of homes in the past two years.
An I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS investigation last year found that the number of people living in red zones had increased to more than 1.1 million people by 2010 and the number of homes had grown to about half a million. That’s one of every four homes and one of every five people in the state. In some counties, including Pitkin – home to Aspen – Teller and Summit counties, more than 90 percent of the population lives in a red zone.
Read more about the I-News red zone investigation here.