CSFS awards funds to increase outreach about wildfire risk


Just under half of all Coloradans live in the wildland-urban interface and are at risk from wildfires. To increase outreach to Coloradans about wildfire risk, the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) awarded $300,000 to organizations that serve 24 counties through a new grant program.

That funding includes $17,600 for the Wildfire Adapted Partnership for wildfire risk education and outreach in Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan counties.

The Colorado Legislature created the Wildfire Mitigation Outreach grant program in 2022 to support outreach among residents in high wildfire hazard areas. The CSFS administers the grant program, awarding funds to 12 projects during the 2024 grant cycle. Recipients of the grant funds include cities, counties, nonprofits and a fire protection district, all of which educate residents about how to live wildfire ready.

“Community voices are always the most effective way to motivate community action. Empowering these trusted sources to share critical wildfire mitigation information is a sure-fire way to activate the residents they serve,” said Matt McCombs, state forester and director of the CSFS. “The state of Colorado has stepped up to provide resources to support their outreach efforts and ensure more Coloradans have the tools and knowledge to protect their lives, homes and properties from wildfire.”

The Wildfire Mitigation Outreach grant program has a matching requirement, either through cash or in-kind contributions. Applicants had to match at least 10 percent of the total project, amounting to roughly $294,000 in match across all projects. With matching funds included, grant awardees will invest more than $594,000 in efforts dedicated to educating residents about wildfire and how to reduce their risk.

The funding will support a variety of outreach activities, ranging from videos about the home ignition zone to events and training for residents, to online resources such as websites, apps and social media campaigns. Funds will also support the growth of ambassador programs, where volunteers foster support among their neighbors to adapt their community to wildfire.

Organizations awarded grant funding serve these counties: Archuleta, Boulder, Clear Creek, Costilla, Custer, Delta, Dolores, Douglas, Eagle, Fremont, Jefferson, Garfield, Grand, Gunnison, Huerfano, La Plata, Larimer, Las Animas, Montezuma, Park, Pitkin, Pueblo, San Juan and Teller.

The CSFS received 28 applications totaling more than $1,330,000 for the Wildfire Mitigation Outreach grant program in 2024. After a review process, the CSFS awarded the $300,000 that was allocated for this program to 12 applicants.