Compensating North Fork Fire Victims
Here is a link to today’s article in the Denver Post, and below is an excerpt.
The commission also may make “compensatory recommendations” after hearing from victims of the fire, who were expected to testify in Conifer on Monday night.
“Realistically, we’re talking about many months, if not over years” before victims see special compensation from the state, said commission chairwoman state Sen. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango .
Mike Babler, fire programs manager for the Colorado chapter of the Nature Conservancy , said wildfires are becoming more frequent and more intense.
Babler said prescribed burns, which the state put an indefinite ban on after the Lower North Fork fire, are still important for fire management. But he listed a variety of other strategies, including defensive techniques such as cleaning up pine needles and other fuel around homes.
Another major factor has been the collapse of the timber industry, Babler said. With a depressed construction industry and foreign competition, mills have been shuttered, leaving forests thicker with fuel.
He also pointed to the growth of those living in the “urban wilderness interface,” where development creeps into forests. Two million people in Colorado now live in these areas, and studies say that could double in 20 years, he said.
In California on Monday, more than 825,000 rural residents received bills from the state of up to $150 for fire protection costs.
The controversial new fees are expected to raise $84 million to help balance the state budget.
Sharon’s questions: Does someone have a link to the California policy? Also, it’s still not clear to me why the taxpayers of Colorado (say, the person working at the 7-11) should be compensating these folks. Is it for something their insurance does not cover? Does the policy of “no prescribed burns” really make any practical sense? Is there really such a policy in the State (I haven’t been following this)? Finally, I wonder if the studies of the doubling of populations in the WUI takes into account the economy, and the distribution of wealth. If we can’t predict that, what can we predict? Sensitivity analysis might be useful.