Lawmakers: Major Wildfire Only a Question Of Time

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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.

Today 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 he said there's no similar program to react in advance to the
threat of a major wildfire.