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Commission members will recommend strategies to tackle the national wildfire crisis

On Thursday, five Coloradans, Dan Gibbs, Jim Hubbard, Madelene McDonald, Scott Miller, and Mike Morgan received their nomination to the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission, created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

The Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission will play a key role in recommending ways that federal agencies can better prevent, mitigate, suppress, and manage wildland fires. It will also recommend policies and strategies on how to restore the lands affected by wildfire.

“Colorado is a national leader in fire prevention, preparedness, and response, and we are proud to congratulate Dan Gibbs and Mike Morgan on their well-deserved selection to this commission,” said Governor Jared Polis. “As we face the reality of a year-round fire season, we are taking additional steps to prevent the spread of fires and keep Coloradans safe and healthy, and we look forward to sharing our forward-thinking approach with national partners on this commission.”

The Polis Administration has made wildfire preparedness and response a top priority, and continues to expand the tools and resources available to prevent and respond to wildfires across the state.

“Congratulations … on being named to the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission,” said Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. “As Colorado faces record drought and megafires, Dan, Jim, Madelene, Scott, and Mike are critical voices we must listen to as we seek to restore lands affected by wildfire and prevent future blazes. It is paramount that Coloradans have a seat at the table. This commission – and the  Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s historic investments in our forests – will help us better mitigate and manage wildfires in the long term.”

Gibbs, Hubbard, McDonald, Miller and Morgan were selected out of 500 applicants to serve as five of the 36 non-federal members on the commission.

Gibbs is the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. Hubbard was the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and served as the Colorado State Forester from 1984-2004. McDonald is a senior watershed scientist at Denver Water. Miller is the Senior Regional Director for the Southwest Region of The Wilderness Society, based in Colorado. Morgan is the Division Director of the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.

Along with 11 federal members, the commission will be co-chaired by Departments of Agriculture, the Interior and FEMA leadership. More details on commission members are available at the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission website.

In addition to establishing the commission, the BIL provides historic funding for a suite of programs aimed at reducing wildfire risks, detecting wildfires, instituting firefighter workforce reforms and building more resilient infrastructure.

The Departments of Agriculture and the Interior have allocated an initial $234 million in BIL investments for wildfire resilience efforts. In April, Bennet, Colorado U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper and U.S. Representative Joe Neguse welcomed U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Deb Haaland and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Chief Randy Moore to Boulder County, where they announced over $33 million in funding from the BIL to help Colorado prevent and mitigate wildfires.

The BIL also supports landmark pay increases for federal wildland firefighters, which aim to bring federal firefighter pay in alignment with their state and local counterparts, while aiding in recruitment and retention of a more permanent and stable wildland firefighting force across the federal government. Bennet has championed several reforms to improve pay, job stability, and benefits for federal wildfire personnel.