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Officials are beginning the bidding process for aerial mulching over portions of the Waldo Canyon burn zone. Fire Information Officer Rob Deyerberg says the drops will occur over hard to reach places that have moderate to severe burn damage. Deyerberg says the mulch will help provide a jumpstart for new vegetation.

The lighter rains that happened, it did encourage seeds and stuff from the natural environment to start growing. So, the most appropriate thing is to give it some help. Give it some serious help.

The mulch is also expected to help reduce rain impacts, though Deyerberg cautions residents to remain aware of the potential for serious flooding. The aerial mulching is expected to begin by the end of the month, with a combination of wood and straw. Trails and the entire fire perimeter remain closed to the public. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The US Small Business Administration continues to offer low-interest loans for residents affected by the Waldo Canyon Fire, and flooding and mudslides related to the fire. Spokesman Roger Busch says residents of any county that touches El Paso are eligible.

Where it really comes into play, like, Teller County, there’s a lot of businesses that were shut down, they don’t necessarily have to own the property, to get the physical damage, they’re also eligible to get economic injury, it’s called. And that’s revenues that didn’t come into the business being shut down.

Eligibility includes homeowners and renters, as well as businesses in the area. The deadline to apply for the disaster loans is the beginning of October.

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..

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.


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