Colorado Congressional Delegation Urges President to Designate Black Forest and Royal Gorge Fires as Major Disaster Areas

Colorado Congressional Delegation Urges President to Designate Black Forest and Royal Gorge Fires as Major Disaster Areas 

Washington, DC – The Colorado Congressional delegation today urged President Obama to expedite and approve a request from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to issue federal major disaster declarations in response to the Black Forest and Royal Gorge fires. The declaration would make federal resources available for response and recovery efforts.

Additionally, the delegation asked for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to quickly approve a disaster declaration for the massive West Fork Fire complex in Southwest Colorado to provide economic injury disaster loans to businesses affected by the fire.

In a letter to the president, the delegation wrote, “At the height of these blazes, thousands of firefighters and other personnel engaged in combating the Black Forest Fire, the Royal Gorge fire, the East Peak Fire, the West Fork Fire complex, and other wildfires simultaneously burning across Colorado... A major disaster declaration will provide urgently needed resources and support to the state, communities, and especially the families who have been uprooted by these wildfires.”

Requests for a disaster declaration by the President must be made by the Governor of the affected state. Governor Hickenlooper made the request late yesterday. Once the declaration is made, it would make available a number of Federal programs to assist in the response and recovery efforts. The types of assistance made available, whether individual or public, are based on the needs found during a preliminary damage assessment conducted by state and Federal officials. Types of assistance may include temporary housing, home repair or replacement, debris removal, repairs and restoration to publicly-owned facilities, among others.

Click here to view the letter.

*This release was sent by the office of Sen. Michael Bennet as a delegation press release.