El Paso County fire officials preparing for a potentially extreme fire season received an extra $500,000 for mitigation efforts this week from two Colorado foundations.
El Pomar Foundation and Anschutz Foundation each pledged $250,000, which will be given to the Colorado Springs Fire Department and El Paso County Sheriff's Office. The two county agencies expect to begin work on priority areas as early as June.
"With these grants we have the opportunity to tie many efforts together to create substantive fuel breaks," said Colorado Springs Fire Department Chief Ted Collas. "We are very excited, and we want to make sure our citizens are aware of how El Pomar and the Anschutz Foundation are working with us to keep the community safe."
Across the state, El Pomar's Wildland Fire Fund has granted more than $5 million to more than 70 fire departments and other first responder agencies. Their efforts have aided responders involved in the Hayman, Black Forest, Waldo Canyon and, most recently, 117 fires.
"Partnerships are necessary to tackle complex issues, and by enhancing public/private partnerships, working with other foundations and many public agencies in El Paso County we intend to do our best to ensure this community is less vulnerable," said El Pomar Chairman and CEO William Hybl.