Vail rep’s wildfire bills pass House |

Vail rep’s wildfire bills pass House

DENVER, Colorado ” Two bills that aim to help fight wildfires passed through the state House on Tuesday and now await Governor Ritter’s signature.

Senate Bills 20 and 105 were sponsored by state Rep. Christine Scanlan, who represents Eagle County. Senate Bill 20 passed unanimously, and Senate Bill 105 passed on a 46-18 vote.

Senate Bill 20 streamlines and clarifies the roles of state and local emergency personnel when fires occur. It also allows sheriffs to develop and update wildfire preparedness plans, and specifies what information should be included in a plan to be effective. –

Senate Bill 105 expands the ability of counties to raise money to fight fires. Specifically, the bill removes the limit on property taxes that a county can collect ” with voter approval ” for forest fighting. –

“This legislation helps our first responders prepare effectively for emergencies,” said Rep. Scanlan. “And importantly, this is a local control issue. Local communities should be able to decide how much they want to invest in their own fire mitigation strategies and preparedness without the state placing an arbitrary limit on their efforts.”

Along with Sen. Dan Gibbs who carried the bills through the Senate, Scanlan recently led a trip to Washington, DC to urge the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Forest Service, Interior Secretary Salazar and the Colorado congressional delegation to address the bark beetle epidemic and reduce the threat of a potentially devastating forest fire.

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