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Senator Mark Udall calls this year’s fire season a wake-up call for policymakers and the public. The comments come after a field hearing in Colorado Springs of the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, focusing on forest health issues and the recent wildfires in Colorado and the West.

Senator Mark Udall (D) speaks to the press after hearing on forest health.

Discussion points at the hearing included pre-fire mitigation, beetle kill, and the wildland-urban interface, an area one study predicts to grow by 300% in about two decades. But the theme of money, and lack of it, ran throughout the meeting. Senator Udall calls it a legitimate concern.

“Now how we get that money is a combination of the federal government reprioritizing its investments, and frankly, finding a way to turn forest health practices and forest health treatments into a profit-making enterprise.”

Udall says it’s cheaper to prevent fires than to fight them, and strategies should include partnerships with the private sector. There’s also a special presentation this evening about creating defensible space around homes. That’s scheduled for 7:00 at Centennial Hall in downtown Colorado Springs.

Officials have made the largest marijuana bust in Pueblo County history. That’s according to the Pueblo Chieftain, which reports around 7 to 9,000 pot plants had been seized before noon today. The paper also says at least one of the areas raided was on private land near Lake San Isabel, and that two arrests were made.

Authorities say one person is dead and three others have minor injuries after a rupture at a natural gas well north of Fort Lupton. Weld County sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Schwartz says pressure apparently caused one or more pieces of equipment to break loose this afternoon.


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