Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper has been appointed to Colorado’s newly established Fire Programs Commission (“Commission”). The Commission was created through Senate Bill 19-040. She will serve a 2-year term and represent counties on the Eastern Slope.
The mission of the Fire Commission is to enhance public safety in Colorado through an integrated statewide process focused on the fire service’s capacity to conduct fire management and use, preparedness, prevention, and response activities to safeguard lives, property, including utility and communication infrastructure, and natural resources, and increase the resilience of local and regional communities. The bill was the outcome of a collaborative effort of fire stakeholders throughout Colorado.
Serving in her first term, representing District 3, Dahlkemper has quickly become versed in the topic and identified wildfire risk reduction as one of her top issues. More than two-thirds of the County has been designated within a Wildfire Hazard Overlay District. Additionally, the county ranks number one in Colorado for the number of homes in high and extreme wildfire risk areas, according to Verisk/ISO Stateline Report. Evergreen and Conifer ranked among the highest risk areas. Part of Evergreen and all of Conifer are in Dahlkemper’s district.
“Today’s wildfires are burning hotter and faster, resulting in the devastating loss of life, property and infrastructure,” said Dahlkemper. “Our number one priority is public safety. I’m proud to represent Jefferson County on the commission and work collaboratively with my colleagues across Colorado to develop recommendations that address wildfire risk reduction, response and resources.”
In May, the Board of County Commissioners held a Wildfire Mitigation work session. The session was well attended with key local stakeholders, including mountain area fire chiefs and others, providing feedback on efforts now underway to reduce the risk of wildfire, challenges and strategies to enhance collaboration with the County.
Commission meetings will begin in early October and, with representation at the table, the County will be an integral part of developing an accurate understanding of Colorado’s fire problems, reviewing the emergency fire fund and evaluating other funding mechanisms for effective response to large fires as well as assessing the capacity of the state to provide emergency fire support and technical expertise to local communities like Jefferson County.