USA — Members of the Colorado Congressional delegation are urging the White House and House and Senate committee leaders to include wildfire recovery assistance in an emergency appropriations measure for Hurricane Sandy. The Colorado members are seeking a boost to resources for the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program to help support the long-term recovery efforts of this summers devastating wildfires in Colorado as well as from other natural disasters that struck across the country.
The White House may submit a request to Congress for emergency appropriations early next week to aid in the recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy as early as next week.
In a team effort, Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall penned a letter to Senators Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, requesting the EWP resources which provides support for rehabilitating and restoring watersheds in areas affected by wildfires and other natural resources.
Representatives Jared Polis, Doug Lamborn, and Cory Gardner wrote to Representatives Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Norm Dicks (D-WA), the House Appropriations Committee chair and ranking member, asking the panel to support additional resources for EWP.
Finally, all five members teamed up to write the President in support of the EWP resources.
The members wrote, Currently, a severe shortage of resources in EWP has left the wildfire-affected Colorado watersheds in a precarious position. For example, the watershed supplying municipal water to Fort Collins has a very high risk of water quality degradation, flood hazard, and road washouts. These hazards represent substantial risk to life and property. The limited EWP resources available have been used to mitigate these hazards to some extent, but the risks to life and property remain very high.
EWP supports projects to restore damage to watersheds and drinking water infrastructure such as debris-clogged stream channels, undermined and unstable stream banks, jeopardized water control structures and public infrastructures and damaged upland sites stripped of protective vegetation by fire or drought.
Earlier this year, the entire delegation wrote to the President to help secure a swift federal disaster declaration as the fires raged throughout the state. The failure was in the forest areas.Advertisement
Following a 10-year strategy, ACT fire managers have created a mosaic across the landscape of different fuel levels, burning at every opportunity.
But forests have been too wet to burn this spring and the past two summers.
A network of 500 fire trails and strategic burns along the north-west urban edge, heavy grazing and extra grass slashing will create a fortress for the territory which forecasters say faces a higher than average risk this summer.
After a fire-fuelled tornado in January 2003 killed four Canberrans and frightened thousands more, CSIRO fire expert Phil Cheney told the subsequent inquiry the fire’s penetration into urban areas under extreme conditions did not reflect a failure of fuel management on the urban interface.