FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The Colorado State Forest Service awarded $9.5 million to local governments spanning 16 Colorado counties. In its first year, the Incentives for Local Government (ILG) grant program will fund 28 forest management and wildfire mitigation projects around the state. All awardees have established dedicated revenue sources to fund local forest management or wildfire mitigation efforts on a long-term basis, and the grant funds help them continue this commitment. Local efforts to reduce wildfire risk are vital for the safety of all Coloradans, and this funding round will treat about 7,500 acres and support dozens of jobs dedicated to implementing wildfire mitigation measures and educating private landowners throughout these counties.
“I am pleased to see counties, municipalities, and local conservation and fire districts across Colorado taking action to reduce their risk of wildfire by dedicating long-term funding to these efforts,” said Dan Gibbs, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Natural Resources. “The strong local support and interest in the Incentives for Local Government program clearly demonstrate the wildfire mitigation needs in our forests and communities. Local leaders understand the needs of their communities, and ILG-funded projects will provide on-the-ground resources for local governments to leverage for their forest mitigation and wildfire prevention priorities.”
The Colorado Legislature created the ILG grant program in 2022, and qualifying projects target forest management or wildfire mitigation efforts at a local level, such as fuel breaks, forest thinning, wildfire fuels reduction, and outreach and education efforts.
Additionally, any funding awarded under this program must match either revenues raised by the local government from a dedicated revenue source or supplement existing forest management or wildfire mitigation programs administered by the local government on a long-term basis.
“This funding from the General Assembly encourages local governments to pitch in and do their part to reduce wildfire risk and improve forest health,” State Forester Matt McCombs said. “When cities and counties set aside dedicated revenue for wildfire mitigation efforts, they show their commitment to both Colorado’s forests and the well-being of not just their constituents, but all Coloradans.”
The state can fund up to 50 or 75 percent of the cost of each awarded project; grant recipients are required to match at least 50 or 25 percent of the total project cost. The required matching amount depends on whether the project location falls within an area of “fewer economic resources,” as identified in the Colorado Forest Atlas. This funding round resulted in $8.7 million in matching funds, so this grant program makes $18.2 million available for these important projects.
The CSFS received 36 applications totaling nearly $15.4 million for the ILG grant program in 2023. After the review process, 28 projects in 16 counties received the $9.5 million that were allocated for this program. Learn more about the applications and funded projects on our website.
— Colorado State Forest Service