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$1M awarded to Teller County wildfire mitigation project

TELLER COUNTY, Co. (KRDO) -- On Monday the Polis administration announced that $1 million will be used on a wildfire mitigation project in Teller County.

The grant couldn't come at a more pressing time, as the High Park Fire burned over 1,500 acres near Cripple Creek back in May.

At a press conference Monday morning, Governor Jared Polis was joined by government leaders, legislators, first responders, and local forest mitigation groups to discuss progress made on forest health and wildfire mitigation initiatives.

"Colorado is one lightning strike, one unattended campfire, and one drought season away from Colorado's next mega-fire," said Dan Gibbs, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. 

At the meeting, it was announced that eight projects spread throughout the Colorado Strategic Wildfire Action Program's (COSWAP) strategic focus areas have been selected for funding in their 'Landscape Resilience Investment.'

"We want to prevent minor fires from becoming major fires, and mitigation is a key to doing that,” said Governor Jared Polis.

Projects range from $500,000 to $1,000,000 and will be matched by $4 million in local, federal, or other state funding.

The Teller County Forest Health and Resilience Project (TCFHR) has received $1,000,000 and will be utilized by the Colorado State Forest Service.

COSWAP is a program within the Department of Natural Resources and was recently launched by the Polis administration through the bipartisan SB21-258.

That bill was signed into law in June 2021 and invested $25 million in targeted wildfire risk mitigation, and funded mitigation projects.

"COSWAP provides over $17 million to quickly move state stimulus funds to on the ground, work for wildfire risk mitigation projects to protect life, property, and critical infrastructure," said Gibbs.

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Mallory Anderson

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