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The Chaffee County Office of Emergency Management is sharing the updated 2021-2026 Chaffee County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan and welcoming public review and comment. The current plan is an update to the 2016 Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan. Plan updates are required every five years by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to maintain compliance with the Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000.

The full draft plan is accessible at https://bit.ly/ChaffeeHazardPlan.

Comments can be submitted through Aug. 6 at https://forms.office.com/r/GdTvfYdJC5.

The Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan analyzes the County’s vulnerabilities to natural and other  hazards and identifies mitigation actions the jurisdictions can take to minimize property damage and reduce the loss of life by lessening the impacts of disasters. Most people can easily visualize the dangers caused by fires, floods and earthquakes.  Yet not all disasters occur from natural causes.  For instance, from page 210 of the plan, the protection of critical facilities and infrastructure is pointed out:

“The vast majority of cyber attacks affect only data and computer systems. However, sophisticated attacks have occurred against the SCADA systems of critical infrastructure, which could potentially result in system failures on a scale equal with natural disasters. Facilities and infrastructure such as the electrical grid could become unusable…”

This update is a prerequisite to enable the county and participating jurisdictions to remain eligible to use federal pre-and post-disaster financial assistance from FEMA. Incidents such as the 2019 Decker fire demonstrate the importance of this plan.

A printout of the updated plan draft is available upon request by calling 719-539-2218 or emailing chaffeeadmin@chaffeecounty.org.

The Hazard Mitigation Plan establishes the joint efforts of Chaffee County, the City of Salida, the Town of Buena Vista, and the Town of Poncha Springs to comprehensively assess and plan for natural hazards’ mitigation, response, and recovery efforts. It brings together local municipalities for pre-disaster planning on multiple natural hazard topics and other incident types, ranging from avalanches to wildfires and failures of critical infrastructure like power, water and telecommunications..