Bennet Statement on High Park Fire

Calls for Passage of Stewardship Contracting Projects in Farm Bill, Purchase of New Tankers

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the following statement on the High Park Fire in Larimer County.  The fire, which continues to grow, has taken one life and burned more than 41,000 acres.

“As crews work tirelessly to contain the fire, our main concern is the safety of Larimer County residents.  Those close to the fire should take all warnings and evacuation orders very seriously and move to safety as directed,” Bennet said.  “The firefighters and first responders who have been attending to evacuees and victims must have the necessary resources to do their jobs safely and effectively. My staff and I remain in contact with local, state and federal offices and are working to meet these needs. 

“At the same time, we must work to ensure preparedness for future fires. Both Congressional action to reauthorize Stewardship Contracting Projects in the Farm Bill and the President’s signature to allow the purchase of new large air tankers would go a long way in supporting efforts to prevent and respond to future fires.”

Up-to-date information on the status of the fire can be found on the Larimer County Sheriff’s website, which is accessible on Bennet’s website, along with additional resources and wildfire information.

Yesterday, Bennet joined members of the Colorado Congressional delegation on a letter to Tom Tidwell, chief of the U.S. Forest Service, urging him to expedite resources to the region to help firefighters respond quickly and effectively.

In a letter last week to the House Agriculture Committee, Bennet urged committee leadership to reauthorize Stewardship Contracting Projects as part of a robust forestry title in the House version of the 2012 Farm Bill.  Stewardship Contracting Projects allow the federal government to contract with businesses to remove forest products from federal land to reduce the risk of forest fires, improve forest health and strengthen wildlife habitat.  Bennet is also urging President Barack Obama to sign a bill that allows the U.S. Forest Service to purchase up to seven more large air tankers, which have been helpful in fighting wildfires across the country.  Both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed the bill last week.