Firefighter Sign-On Letter

Firefighters on the front lines of climate change

Open Letter of Support for Colorado Firefighters

Dear Governor Hickenlooper, Senator Gardner, and Senator Bennett:As Colorado firefighters, emergency responders, and others connected to wildfires, we are taking unacceptable risks on the fireline due to extreme fire behavior. We serve and protect our communities but close to 100 wildland firefighters have been killed in the line of duty in last five years alone.

As you know, 2015 was the hottest and most fire-intense year on record. More than 10 million acres burned and the USFS spent 1.3 billion dollars on fire suppression. Our budgets and staff are being stretched as never before to fight fire. The climate is changing – warmer temperatures, drought conditions and our earlier-and-faster melting snowpack – leads to drier conditions with more fuel to ignite potentially deadly wildfires. Warming temperatures contribute to extreme weather events that create unpredictable, and sometimes deadly conditions for firefighters.

Wildfires ignited close to Front Range communities just this February. The May-October fire season is a thing of the past – Colorado now has a year-round fire season, putting our firefighters in even more danger.

By 2050, 20 million acres are predicted to burn annually and we need to be prepared. The good news is we have the tools to address our growing wildfire problem.

There’s much that you and the State of Colorado can do including:

● Reinforce the importance of homeowner responsibility and mitigation by strengthening WUI building codes to reduce fire impacts and loss of lives and property

● Allocate adequate funding for emergency response and fire suppression

● Continue to support and implement policies, like the Clean Power Plan, which accelerate the construction of clean and renewable energy production

Please honor the risks we take as firefighters and emergency responders, we put our lives on the line to protect communities and resources. We have the power to change the trajectory of climate change and the fire landscape through supporting clean and renewable energy.

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