Press Releases

Hickenlooper, Bennet, Neguse Secure Over $35 Million to Address Wildfire Crisis

Feb 21, 2024

Funding awarded via Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet and Congressman Joe Neguse welcomed over $35 million in new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act funding to support wildfire mitigation and preparedness across the Front Range. The funding is part of a $500 million nationwide Forest Service investment to help reduce the risks and impacts of the ongoing wildfire crisis. 

“Wildfire season has become a year-round threat, and we have to be ready,” said Senator Hickenlooper. “This funding from our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act will invest in making our forests and communities more resilient.”

“I am pleased to see historic funds from the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continue to invest in the health of our forests. This investment in Colorado’s Front Range will help safeguard our communities and reduce risk to our natural resources from increasingly severe wildfire seasons,” said Senator Bennet. “As the West faces a hotter and drier future, I’ll keep working to ensure that forests across the state have the resources they need.”

“Colorado has experienced numerous devastating wildfires over the past several years, including the East Troublesome, Cameron Peak, and Marshall Fires, which impacted communities in my district and along Colorado’s Front Range. As the Representative for much of the region, I am excited to see investments making their way to our state to reduce the risk of wildfires to our families, our towns, and our lands. I am committed to continuing to advocate for all of our Colorado communities, including those on the Western Slope, ensuring they receive the resources they need to prepare for this crisis,” said Congressman Neguse.

Under the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Forest Service’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy designated the Front Range as one of 21 priority landscapes across the West. Approximately $400 million of the nationwide investment will be allocated to ongoing efforts on the 21 designated priority landscapes. 

An additional $100 million will be allocated under a new program established by the Forest Service – the Collaborative Wildfire Risk Reduction Program – to expand work outside these landscapes.

“This important work is already in motion – we’ve seen the impact on reducing wildfire exposure to communities, as well as critical infrastructure, critical watersheds, socially vulnerable communities, and carbon stocks,” said USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment Dr. Homer Wilkes.

“We are pleased with the record-setting pace and scale accomplished by Forest Service employees, partners, Tribes and communities,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “These investments will allow critical work to continue in the 21 priority landscape areas and begin intensively in other high-risk areas across the country that will be determined through the new program.”

In addition to advocating for increased support for the Front Range, Senators Hickenlooper and Bennet and Representative Neguse are leading an ongoing effort to urge the USDA and the Forest Service to prioritize funds to be allocated to address forest and watershed health in national forests on Colorado’s Western Slope, which serve as headwaters for rivers and streams extending beyond state boundaries. 

Hickenlooper was part of a bipartisan group of 22 senators who negotiated and wrote the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and was instrumental in passing the Inflation Reduction Act. 

Learn more about the announcement HERE


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