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Friday morning, the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) presented Colorado’s 2022 Wildfire Preparedness Plan to Governor Jared Polis. With the wildfire season already beginning weeks earlier than normal, the presentation is none too soon.

DFPC Director Mike Morgan discussed the 2022 Colorado wildfire outlook and an overview of State resources that are prepared to combat wildfires.

“The 2022 Wildfire Preparedness Plan outlines a holistic, comprehensive approach to wildfire management that includes suppression and response, fuels and forest management, and mitigation activities of all types,” said DFPC Director Morgan.

The Wildfire Preparedness Plan is designed to address the following:

  1. The amount of aerial firefighting resources necessary for the State of Colorado at times of high and low wildfire risk.
  2. The availability of appropriate aerial firefighting equipment and personnel at times of high fire risk to respond to a wildfire;
  3. The availability of state wildfire engines and staffing of the engines at different levels of wildfire risk;
  4. The availability of wildfire hand crews, including state inmate wildfire hand crews, at different levels of wildfire risk; and
  5. A process for ordering and dispatching aerial firefighting equipment and personnel that is consistent with, and supportive of, the statewide mobilization plan

Among the focus areas for the 2022 plan developed by DFPC:

  • Enhancing fire training
  • The use of new prevention and fire-fighting technologies
  • Implementing public information campaigns to bolster the fight against wildland fire

Morgan stressed that we all have a shared responsibility in keeping one another safe. Our attention to the factors that can reduce or increase the risk of wildfire, and of serious damage from wildfire doesn’t just keep us safe – it keeps our neighbors safe.

In preparing the public to understand that responsibility, the agency and the state are also facing two major misperceptions:

  • The inability of the state’s population to imagine the worst. As with many crises, the possibility that a wildfire could happen “where I live,” or in my town or county isn’t just a failure to imagine — it’s a willingness to believe that wildfires happen “somewhere else” and “to somebody else”. Over and over again during catastrophic events, first responders and we in the media hear, “I just didn’t think it could happen to us.”
  • The lack of preparation by the general population to be ready should a wildfire happen. Whether this is simply personal procrastination or not bothering to be informed about what you’ll need, preparation can protect you. The time to pack a ready-bag of critical family documents, medicines, and memories is not when you are given 20 minutes to evacuate.

The preparations the state is taking should reassure all of us as we move into what could be a serious Colorado wildfire season. “Together with our partners, the State of Colorado stands ready to respond to wildfires,” said Morgan.

Now the question could be — are we residents doing our part?

Click here to view the 2022 Colorado Wildland Fire Preparedness Plan.

For more information about the Department of Fire Prevention and Control, follow this link: dfpc.colorado.gov

Featured image: Wildland firefighters train to fight the fires we wish they didn’t have to fight. Image Mountain Tactical Institute.