It’s been one week since BOLDplanning first wrote about Colorado’s 416 Fire. Today the blaze has scorched well over 34,000 acres inside the San Juan National Forest (near the city of Durango), and is only 37 percent contained. All mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted, but people in the area remain on high alert. They, like public officials, know that emergency preparedness is key. So is federal funding from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), which can help communities mitigate against future risks, including wildfires.

Per FEMA, the HMGP is an all-hazards risk reduction grant program administered by applicants including states, federally-recognized tribes, and territories. HMGP funding, which is usually only available following Presidential major disaster declarations, is currently available for Fire Management Assistance declarations in fiscal years 2017 and 2018. The HMGP Post Fire initiative runs through September 30, 2018, and it’s well worth applying for.

Why? FEMA will provide a national aggregate calculation based on an average of historical Fire Management Assistance designations from the last ten years. The total amount available for HMGP for states and tribal applicants with standard state or tribal hazard mitigation plans will be $425,008 for each declaration. It will be $566,677 for applicants with enhanced state or tribal hazard mitigation plans. And, that’s no small change.

Wildfires can can destroy homes, businesses, infrastructure, natural resources, and agriculture. And, yes, even lives. They can also exacerbate secondary hazards and leave areas prone to floods, erosion, and mudflows/landslides for many years to come. Mitigation dollars, as evidenced by past events, can help reduce, or even eliminate, these hazards and others going forward.

And, not just in Colorado where the 416 Fire continues to burn, but in the many other states, including Alaska, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, where (according to the National Interagency Fire Center) a total of 38 large wildfires are now raging.

With 10,000 mitigation, emergency and continuity plans now under our belt, BOLDplanning is well-versed in plan development, stakeholder participation, FEMA acceptance and plan adoption. As such, we urge you to have a current, FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plan in place at all times. And, of course, to apply for any federal dollars that can improve your communities’ ability to withstand future wildfires or other natural disasters.

If you need assistance writing or updating your hazard mitigation plan, call us at 615.469.5558 or email us at today.