Is the Western Slope Prepared for a Catastrophic Wildfire?

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DENVER (AP) _ Lawmakers are warning that it's only a matter of time before a major wildfire strikes Colorado's beetle-ravaged trees on the Western Slope.

Yesterday state forestry officials told lawmakers that less than half the communities in the state are prepared for a major wildfire. So far, the federal government has provided $12 million toward mitigation.

State representative Christine Scanlan, a democrat from Summit County said, “That was a drop in the bucket compared to the damage that a catastrophic wildfire could cause.”

Hans Kallam, the director of the state's division of emergency Management said, “The federal government has the ability to begin disaster preparations at the first hint a hurricane will strike. But there's no similar program to react in advance to the threat of a major wildfire.

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