With Colorado on high alert for another devastating fire season, gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter today released his plan for protecting Coloradans, their property and wildlife habitat from wildfires.
The complete plan is posted on Ritter's campaign website and is available by clicking here.
"We must always be prepared for the worst," said Ritter, Denver's former District Attorney, "and my first priority will be to protect the people of Colorado. I will ensure that proper planning, training and resources are in place to protect Colorado's people, land and wildlife habitat."
Ritter's plan calls for:
· Increased collaboration among state, federal and local authorities and private landowners to mitigate and prevent wildfires before they start through thinning, prescribed burns and adopting "firewise" techniques that make homes and businesses more defensible.
· Ensuring that state resources – including more than $3 million appropriated for fire suppression by the legislature and governor – are spent effectively and efficiently.
· Attacking Colorado's mountain pine beetle infestation quickly and efficiently. More than 425,000 acres of north-central forestland were infested in 2005, significantly increasing the risk and severity of forest fires in those areas.
· Balancing Colorado's needs and national emergency response needs. Colorado must become more self-sufficient so that our resources are not siphoned away to meet federal needs.
"Wildfires are a natural part of the environment here in the West," said Ritter, who was endorsed by the Colorado Professional Firefighters Association earlier this year. "But we can and must do more to protect ourselves."
Ritter applauded U.S. Ken Salazar, who criticized the federal government yesterday for not doing enough to reduce fire risks in the West, where more than 4 million acres have burned so far this year compared with 3 million at this time last year.
For more information about Ritter's campaign, visit www.ritterforgovernor.com , e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303.534.0660.