On November 5, Sallie Clark,
NACo Second Vice President and Commissioner of El Paso County, CO, testified
before the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee’s Subcommittee
on Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources. The hearing, “Shortchanging
Our Forests: How Tight Budgets and Management Decisions Can Increase the
Risk of Wildfire,” featured testimony from local Colorado business and government
representatives from wildfire-affected areas.
“I want to stress the need for
more investment in mitigation and the importance of having the Forest Service
working together with local officials to make the most of that investment,”
Clark said. “Fires and devastating and destructive flash floods have no
respect for private property lines, city, county, state and federal boundaries
or critical public safety and utilities infrastructure or potential loss of
Clark, whose county was devastated
last year by the Waldo Canyon Fire, said she was encouraged to see the
introduction of bipartisan legislation that would give local officials the
flexibility needed to do fire mitigation in a manner that will ensure the
greatest return on our investment.
“We need to mitigate the greatest
threats for fires and floods, whether they are on public lands or private
property and we need the flexibility to partner and collaborate with multiple
agencies, jurisdictions and land owners to get the job done,” Clark said.
“And, local input is a key to understanding the needs of communities.”
is read her full testimony.
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