Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Senator Warns of Critical Wildfire
Risk in Colorado’s High Country

DENVER—Today the Senate voted unanimously in favor of HB08-1269, which would help reduce the threat of devastating wildfires in Colorado’s forests by providing incentives for products that use timber killed by the bark beetle infestation.

Sponsored by Senator Dan Gibbs (D-Silverthorne), the bill would provide an exemption from sales and use tax for sales, storage, and use of wood products, such as lumber, furniture, or wood chips that use wood from salvaged trees killed in Colorado by bark beetles. The bill would also provide cities and counties the option of exempting such sales from taxation.

“Colorado’s forests and watersheds are among our most critical resources and we must do all we can to protect them,” said Gibbs. “It’s heartbreaking to see the extent of the devastation in our mountain forests. With passage of this bill we’re tackling this crisis head-on; removing all that dead timber will greatly reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires and will help protect our forests, our water, and our way of life.”

Gibbs is a Type II Wildland Firefighter and last year crafted and passed the 2007 Colorado Forest Restoration Act, which also dealt with the bark beetle epidemic in Colorado’s high country.

The bill next heads back to the House for concurrence.