Funding awarded through EPA Wildfire Smoke Preparedness in Community Buildings grant program
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper, Michael Bennet, Congressman Joe Neguse, and Governor Jared Polis applauded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will receive $1.9 million in federal funding to enhance wildfire smoke preparedness and protection in communities across the state. Specifically, the award will support the design and implementation of a statewide program to provide outreach, education, and training for local community partners on how to prepare for and respond to the public health threat of wildfire smoke.
“From the 35,000 Coloradans displaced by the 2021 Marshall Fire to the more than 200,000 acres of land ravaged by the 2020 Cameron Peak Fire, Coloradans are living the climate crisis today,” said Senator Hickenlooper. “This investment protects us, our homes, and the environment.”
“Coloradans are all too familiar with the effects of wildfire smoke,” said Senator Bennet. “As we face a hotter and drier future, these investments will be critical to reduce the health risks posed by smoke and to ensure every Coloradan can breathe clean air. But there’s more to do, and I’ll keep working to pass my Cleaner Air Spaces Act to further reduce the negative public health effects of wildfire smoke for vulnerable communities.”
“Every Coloradan deserves to breathe clean air, and this grant from the Biden administration will build on Colorado’s nation-leading work to improve air quality and increase preparedness for future wildfires in our state. I applaud Congressman Neguse and the delegation for their work to secure this federal funding, and look forward to continue taking steps to protect Colorado’s air, and the health and safety of Coloradans,” said Governor Polis.
“Like all Coloradans, I’ve seen firsthand the real and growing threats associated with wildfire and wildfire smoke in our communities. This $1.9 million grant awarded to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will help the state take critical steps toward bolstering wildfire smoke preparedness and protection in our communities,” said Congressman Neguse. “As wildfire seasons turn into wildfire years, it is more pressing than ever that we take action to protect our homes, businesses and communities.”
In Colorado and across the West, wildfires continue to increase in frequency and severity, putting more Americans at risk of health defects born of unhealthy air quality caused by wildfire smoke.
The Wildfire Smoke Preparedness in Community Buildings grant program is a new federal program to enhance community wildfire smoke preparedness by providing grants to states, federally recognized Tribes, public preschools, local educational agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Projects are designed to assess, prevent, control, or abate wildfire smoke hazards in community buildings that serve the public, and that serve disadvantaged communities or vulnerable populations.
CDPHE is one of nine grantees expected to receive a total of nearly $11 million in federal funding to enhance wildfire smoke preparedness and protection.