Fire Funding

 

The Colorado Firefighting Air Corps Aviation Plan ensures the safe, effective, and efficient stand up of the Colorado Aerial Firefighting Air Corps (CFAC), while simultaneously setting the stage for program flexibility, growth and stability in the years to come.

 

The primary intent of the CFAC is to provide early detection and aggressive initial attack of wildfires. Other missions, including large fire operations, can be supported so long as it does not compromise this primary mission requirement.

 

The CFAC Aviation Program provides for safe and efficient aviation services to meet DFPC’s wildfire management goal. Utilization of technology, sound aviation management practices, and highly trained and motivated personnel will reduce risk, loss, waste, and expenditures.

 

The key to achieving DFPC's goal is developing the capability to detect fires earlier, locate them faster, provide the local Incident Commander with data needed to make informed decisions regarding suppression strategy, and then dispatch the appropriate aviation suppression resources expeditiously

 

 

Wildfire Emergency Response Fund (WERF) – This fund provides, at a minimum, funding or

reimbursement for the first aerial tanker flight, the first hour of a firefighting helicopter, and/or

two days of a wildfire hand crew at the request any county sheriff, municipal fire department,

or fire protection district.

 

The Governor may increase the use of WERF funding on wildland fires at his discretion. The

fund does not currently have a dedicated annual revenue source, however, the fund can be

replenished through appropriations by the General Assembly either from direct General Fund

dollars or insurance premium tax dollars pursuant to Section 10-3-209 (4)(a)(II), C.R.S, or from

the Disaster Emergency Fund (DEF) pursuant to Section 24-33.5-706 (4.5)(b), C.R.S.

 

Within the past 5 fiscal years, WERF-funded activities have received resources twice, once

through a General Fund appropriation of $608,200 through the FY 2012-13 supplemental

process (S.B. 13-101) to cover requests for reimbursement from the 2012 wildland fire season

and again in FY 2013-14 through a transfer of $500,000 in insurance premium tax dollars into

the fund (S.B. 13-270).

The Fund was established in 1967 by a group of Colorado counties that recognized that some wildfires may exceed the counties’ individual resources and ability to manage. Participation is voluntary, and currently, 43 out of 64 counties in Colorado participate. A 9 person committee comprised of 3 County Commissioners, 3 County Sheriffs, 2 Fire Chiefs, and the Director of the Division of Fire Prevention and Control oversees the administration of the Fund. A county's annual contribution to the Fund is calculated using a formula based on the number of forested acres in the county and the annual property tax valuation. Counties with large amounts of forested acres and a high assess valuation pay more into the Fund than counties with large acreage of federal lands and low assessed valuation. Requests for assistance from the Fund must originate from the County Sheriff and DFPC approval is required. Once accepted, an EFF fire is managed under the direction of DFPC.