The El Pomar and the Anschutz Foundation announced matching grants worth $500,000 to prevent wildfires in El Paso County Thursday.
The money will go to create fuel breaks in southwest Colorado Springs, in an effort to slow down potentially damaging and deadly wildfires similar to the Waldo Canyon, Black Forest and 117 Fires.
"That’s an area of town that we have seen for a long time as our greatest threat, and we’ve been doing a lot of work in that area. said CSFD Fire Chief Ted Collas. "As it happens with this kind of grant partnership, we’ll be able to do a great deal more."
The donation is more than triple the size of the Colorado Springs Fire Department’s current fire mitigation budget.
It comes at a great time for people living in Colorado Springs. Most of 2017 was wet, until the winter months, causing fuels to grow and dry out.
"That vegetation grows back. Our community’s been hit with drought. It’s been hit with a disease, infestation in our forests. And as we deal with that, it changes the fire behavior of our forests and the health of our forests to increase that fire danger." said Jeremy Taylor, a member of the CSFD Wildfire Mitigation Unit.
Those grants will help firefighters as they work to cut down on the brush that can cause fires to burn out of control.
Work is expected to begin on the project in June.