Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet welcomed today’s announcement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that it has declared the Black Forest and Royal Gorge fires burning in Colorado eligible for federal resources from the Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) program.
“Record high temperatures and extremely dry conditions in Colorado have created conditions ripe for wildfires. As a result, a number of aggressive fires are already burning, several of which have burned structures and are threatening others,” Bennet said. “The quick decision by FEMA to make the Black Forest and Royal Gorge fires eligible for assistance is critical so that we can get tools and resources to our firefighters and first responders to contain these fires before too much more damage occurs.”
The Fire Management Assistance declaration process is initiated when a State submits a request for assistance at the time a “threat of major disaster” exists. The entire process is accomplished on an expedited basis and a FEMA decision is rendered in a matter of hours.
Colorado submitted requests for fire management assistance to FEMA for both fires yesterday. FEMA approved the requests late last night.
The Black Forest fire is threatening homes in and around Black Forest and Falcon, Colorado. The fire was also threatening businesses and infrastructure in the area. At the time of the request, mandatory evacuations were in place for approximately 3,600 people and 1,220 homes.
The Royal Gorge fire is threatening homes and businesses in and around Canon City, Colorado including along the Arkansas River corridor. Mandatory evacuations were in place for around 500 people at the time Colorado made the request to FEMA.