Bennet, Neguse, Gardner Request USDA Partner with Colorado Communities to Address Impact of Wildfires on Water Supply

Washington, D.C. – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D), U.S. Representative Joe Neguse (D), and U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R) sent a letter to the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to request that they work with the State of Colorado and local governments to address the threat posed by multiple fires to the region’s watersheds and water supply. 

Three of the five largest fires in Colorado history have occurred in 2020. The East Troublesome Fire is now the second-largest fire in state history, having grown by more than 150,000 acres in just 24 hours. In addition to structural damage and poor air quality, buildings, roads, bridges are all being threatened, as well as the Colorado river watershed and the Colorado-Big Thompson project. In the past several days, mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for multiple communities in Grand County and Larimer County, including Granby, Grand Lake, and Estes Park. These fires threaten the water quality of the region, putting drinking and irrigation water supply at risk. There will be limited time to mitigate these risks before winter hits.

“This has been a devastating fire season for Colorado,” said Bennet. “We appreciate all of the USDA’s continued work to help communities affected by these fires. It’s essential that, in the weeks and months ahead, the U.S. Forest Service and NRCS work closely with the state of Colorado and local governments to mitigate post-fire damage and protect our watersheds.”

 “As our district continues to grapple with five wildfires across Grand, Larimer and Boulder counties, it is critical that we protect both our drinking and irrigation water,” said Neguse. 

The text of the letter is available HERE.