CO Strategic Wildfire Action Program

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Colorado Strategic Wildfire Action Program

The Colorado Strategic Wildfire Action Program (COSWAP) was created after the devastating 2020 fire season by the Colorado legislature through the bi-partisan supported SB21-258 in the summer of 2021. COSWAP is designed to quickly move $17.5 million state stimulus dollars to start on-the-ground work on fuels reduction projects and increase Colorado's capacity to conduct critical forest restoration and wildfire mitigation work that will increase community resilience and protect life, property and infrastructure.

COSWAP supports fuels reduction efforts in the wildland urban interface (WUI) in two ways. First, by funding wildfire mitigation work done by conservation corps and the Department of Corrections (DOC) State Wildland Inmate Fire Teams (SWIFT), and wildfire mitigation workforce development training. Second, by strategically awarding funds for landscape scale strategic wildfire mitigation projects.

“The Department of Natural Resources shall prioritize those projects with the greatest potential to protect life, property, and infrastructure.” SB21-258

READ THE BILL

 

Workforce Development Grant

The COSWAP Workforce Development Grant awards two forms of grants. Crew time awards are granted to applicants with wildfire mitigation projects that protect life, property and infrastructure. SWIFT or CYCA accredited conservation corps crews are paid by COSWAP directly to complete the projects. Cash grants are awarded for workforce development fire mitigation training or to pay a non-CYCA accredited conservation corps to complete a mitigation project. 

The 2022 funding cycle for COSWAP Workforce Development Grants is closed, stay tuned for information on the next funding cycle. The 2022 Application and Request for Applications are available for your reference below. Sign up for COSWAP news to be notified when the next funding cycle opens. 

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Department of Corrections (DOC) State Wildland Inmate Fire Teams (SWIFT)

COSWAP is partnering with DOC SWIFT crews to execute wildfire mitigation projects from 6–25 weeks. 

Geographic Scope: Statewide
Eligible applicants: 

  • Federal agencies
  • State agencies (DNR divisions contact courtney.young@state.co.us for separate application)
  • Local governments including counties, municipalities, fire protection districts and other special districts 
  • Tribes 
  • Public utilities with infrastructure or land ownership in areas of high wildfire risk
  • Registered homeowner associations, property owners associations, formal neighborhood associations and road districts
  • Wildfire Councils and/or wildfire, watershed or forest collaborative groups
  • Non-profit organizations that promote fuel reduction projects, are engaged in prescribed fire projects, or natural resource management

Match:  Applicants must provide in-kind match in the form of project management.
Timeline: Projects run through calendar years 2022 and 2023. 

CYCA Accredited Conservation Corps

COSWAP is partnering with Colorado Youth Corps Association (CYCA) accredited conservation corps crew time to execute wildfire mitigation projects from 6-25 weeks.

Geographic Scope: Strategic Focus Areas (Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative focal areas and Boulder, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, La Plata and Teller counties)
Eligible applicants: 

  • Federal agencies
  • State agencies (DNR divisions contact courtney.young@state.co.us for separate application)
  • Local governments including counties, municipalities, fire protection districts and other special districts 
  • Tribes 
  • Public utilities with infrastructure or land ownership in areas of high wildfire risk
  • Registered homeowner associations, property owners associations, formal neighborhood associations and road districts
  • Wildfire Councils and/or wildfire, watershed or forest collaborative groups
  • Non-profit organizations that promote fuel reduction projects, are engaged in prescribed fire projects, or natural resource management

Match: Applicants must provide in-kind match in the form of project management.
Timeline: Projects run through calendar years 2022 and 2023.
 

Non-CYCA Accredited Conservation Corps

COSWAP workforce development grants also support mitigation projects completed by non-CYCA accredited conservation corps.

Geographic Scope: Strategic Focus Areas (Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative focal areas and Boulder, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, La Plata and Teller counties)
Eligible applicants: 

  • Federal agencies
  • State agencies (DNR divisions contact courtney.young@state.co.us for separate application)
  • Local governments including counties, municipalities, fire protection districts and other special districts 
  • Tribes 
  • Public utilities with infrastructure or land ownership in areas of high wildfire risk
  • Registered homeowner associations, property owners associations, formal neighborhood associations and road districts
  • Wildfire Councils and/or wildfire, watershed or forest collaborative groups
  • Non-profit organizations that promote fuel reduction projects, are engaged in prescribed fire projects, or natural resource management

Match: Applicant must provide a 25% in-kind or cash match of the award amount.
Timeline: Projects run through calendar years 2022 and 2023.
 

Workforce Development Training

COSWAP supports training opportunities for mitigation and prescribed fire, including S130/S190/L180, S212 and Prescribed Fire Training Exchanges (TREX). 

Geographic Scope: Trainings must occur in Strategic Focus Areas (Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative focal areas and Boulder, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, La Plata and Teller counties)
Eligible applicants: 

  • Federal agencies
  • State agencies (DNR divisions contact courtney.young@state.co.us for separate application)
  • Local governments including counties, municipalities, fire protection districts and other special districts 
  • Tribes 
  • Public utilities with infrastructure or land ownership in areas of high wildfire risk
  • Registered homeowner associations, property owners associations, formal neighborhood associations and road districts
  • Wildfire Councils and/or wildfire, watershed or forest collaborative groups
  • Non-profit organizations that promote fuel reduction projects, are engaged in prescribed fire projects, or natural resource management

Match: Applicant must provide a 25% in-kind or cash match of the award amount.
Timeline: Trainings are occurring in calendar years 2022 and 2023. 
 
 

 
Project name Awardee Award type Award amount Project Value
Arapahoe Ranch Fuels Reduction Project Boulder Watershed Collective CYCA 10 weeks $118,000
Bailey Evacuation Routes Mitigation Platte Canyon Fire Protection District DOC-SWIFT 16 weeks $299,856
Basalt Shooting Range Hand Thinning Colorado Parks and Wildlife DOC-SWIFT 6 weeks $64,536
Beaver Creek Colorado Parks and Wildlife DOC-SWIFT 3 weeks $11,215
Bergen Peak SWA Fire Mitigation Colorado Parks and Wildlife CYCA 6 weeks $70,800
Berrian Park Mitigation Project Evergreen Fire Protection District CYCA 15 weeks $177,000
Big Elk Meadows Wildfire Mitigation Volunteer Fire Department of Big Elk DOC-SWIFT 10 weeks $186,258
Big Thompson Community Wildfire Mitigation Expansion Big Thompson Watershed Coalition CYCA 18 weeks $198,000
Black Mountain Fire Mitigation U.S. Forest Service DOC-SWIFT 8 weeks $149,160
Bosque del Oso Colorado Parks and Wildlife DOC-SWIFT 3 weeks $55,647
Button Rock City of Longmont CYCA 18 weeks $212,400
Cheyenne Mountain Gambel Oak Thinning Colorado Parks and Wildlife CYCA 8 weeks $94,400
Cub Creek Brook Forest Road Roadside Mitigation Evergreen Fire Protection District CYCA 14 weeks $165,200
Delta Fire Fuels Mitigation Delta County DOC-SWIFT 10 weeks $108,360
Dome Rock Colorado Parks and Wildlife DOC-SWIFT 1 day $3,120
Evergreen Fire Rescue 103 Evergreen Fire Protection District DOC-SWIFT 7 weeks $129,843
Game Trail and Trail West Shaded Fuelbreaks Colorado Firecamp CYCA 25 weeks $295,000
Game Trail and Trail West Shaded Fuelbreaks - Training Colorado Firecamp Cash grant for training $72,208  $72,208
GCWC Fuel Reduction Project Grand County Wildfire Council DOC-SWIFT 22 weeks $408,846
GMUG Prescribed Fire Preparation U.S. Forest Service DOC-SWIFT 6 weeks $112,446
Grand Valley WUI Colorado Parks and Wildlife DOC-SWIFT 10 weeks $108,360
Healthy Forest Project Town of Green Mountain Falls CYCA 15 weeks $177,000
La Plata County Safe Routes La Plata County DOC-SWIFT 10 weeks $186,258
Lake County Community WUI Project (Phase I) Lake County DOC-SWIFT 25 weeks $463,725
Lory State Park- FH7 Extension and FH2 Maintenance Colorado Parks and Wildlife CYCA 18 weeks $212,400
Maintaining Effective Treatments Jefferson Conservation District CYCA 8 weeks $88,000
Maxwell Fuel Reduction State Land Board CYCA 10 weeks $118,000
Mountain Zone – Hazardous Fuels Reduction U.S. Forest Service CYCA 10 weeks $118,000
Mueller State Park- Cheeseman Ranch Area Colorado Parks and Wildlife CYCA 6 weeks $70,800
NoCo TREX The Ember Alliance Cash grant for training $100,000 $100,000
NoFloCo Fire Mitigation Posse Training Indian Creek Property Owners Association Cash grant for training $41,773 $41,773
Pikes Peak State Wildlife Area Colorado Parks and Wildlife DOC-SWIFT 3 weeks $31,932
Protecting Critical Infrastructure in Riparian WUI/ Grand Junction City of Grand Junction DOC-SWIFT 17 weeks $184,212
Railroad Bridge Fuels Reduction & Habitat Improvement Project National Forest Foundation CYCA 18 weeks $212,400
Reduce Fuel Load on La Plata River Fort Lewis College CYCA 10 weeks $118,000
Restoration and Roadside Thinning Genesee Foundation CYCA 8 weeks $94,400
Russian olive removal and fuel reduction-Cherry Creek State Park Colorado Parks and Wildlife DOC-SWIFT 8 weeks $149,928
SCC at Edgemont La Plata County CYCA 8 weeks $92,100
TeamWorks Crescent Meadows Project TEENS Inc Cash grant for non-CYCA corps $100,000 $100,000
Top of Cheyenne Mountain Fuels Mitigation Colorado Parks and Wildlife DOC-SWIFT 7.5 weeks $140,557
Vail Deer Underpass SWA Fuels Reduction & Habitat Treatment Colorado Parks and Wildlife DOC-SWIFT 4 weeks $42,576
2023 Droney Gulch Fuel Reduction Project State Land Board DOC-SWIFT 6 weeks $65,016

  

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Landscape Resilience Investment

Eight projects spread throughout COSWAP’s strategic focus areas have been selected for funding. Projects range from $500,000-$1,000,000 and will be matched by $4 million in local, federal, or other state funding.

  1. Boulder County: Phase 1: St. Vrain Forest Health Partnership Project, $1,000,000
  2. Colorado State Forest Service- El Paso County: El Paso County Forest Health and Resilience Project (ECFHRP), $500,000
  3. Colorado State Forest Service - Teller County: Teller County Forest Health and Resilience Project (TCFHR), $1,000,000
  4. Jefferson County: Jefferson County Wildfire Safe, $1,000,000
  5. La Plata County:  COSWAP1 Florida Watershed Mitigation Grant,  $978,032
  6. Larimer County: Pole Hill / Waltonia, $1,000,000
  7. RMRI Upper Arkansas - Chaffee County: Upper Arkansas Thrives - Landscape Level Resilience in Chaffee County, $500,000 
  8. RMRI Southwest Colorado - Mancos Conservation District: RMRI SW Colorado - Northwest Mancos Priority Zone, $1,000,000
  9. RMRI Upper Arkansas - Lake County: Lake County CWPP Fuels Reduction Project, $500,000
  10. RMRI Upper South Platte - Jefferson Conservation District: Upper South Platte Landscape Resilience, $1,000,000
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Strategic Focus Areas 

Strategic Focus Areas include Boulder, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, La Plata and Teller counties plus Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative focal areas.

 

To learn more about the process of identifying Strategic Focus Areas see the White Paper. 

White Paper

Strategic Focus Areas Map
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Partnerships

The Colorado Strategic Wildfire Action Program is designed and implemented collaboratively between partners identified in SB21-258. Representatives from the Colorado State Forest Service and the Division of Fire Prevention and Control work with program staff within the Department of Natural Resources to make decisions on program priorities, methods and implementation. The partners implemented a Memorandum of Understanding to guide their coordination. 

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Pile burning at Golden Gate Canyon State Park
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Frequently Asked Questions

Senate Bill 21-258 (SB21-258) provides one-time state stimulus funding to the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to increase the pace and scale of fuels reduction for wildfire risk mitigation across the state to protect life, property and infrastructure. Per statute, DNR is partnering with the Colorado State Forest Service and Division of Fire Prevention and Control to design and implement this program. DNR hired two term employees in September 2021 to lead implementation over the next three years. DNR created the Colorado Strategic Wildfire Action Program, a unique opportunity that enhances workforce development through the Colorado Youth Corps Association and the Department of Corrections State Wildland Inmate Fire Team crews, and an additional opportunity to focus fuels reduction investments in strategic areas of the state to protect life, property and infrastructure. 

The Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Executive Director’s Office is the primary manager of the Colorado Strategic Wildfire Action Program. DNR hired two, three year term employees to manage the Colorado Strategic Wildfire Action Program. Per statute, all decisions are made collaboratively between Colorado State Forest Service, Division of Fire Prevention and Control and DNR in accordance with a memorandum of understanding between the three entities. 

The Colorado Strategic Wildfire Action Program is a one time, special release initiative with the requirement that funds be obligated by June 30, 2023.

 

SB21-258 called for the U.S. Forest Service to send a National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) Team to Colorado to perform a comprehensive risk analysis to identify the most strategic locations in the state for investments in fuels reduction. Due to the active 2020 fire season a NIMO Team was not available, however Region 2 of the U.S. Forest Service made its fire and fuels experts available. Subject matter experts from the U.S. Forest Service, Colorado State Forest Service, Division of Fire Prevention and Control, Bureau of Land Management, National Parks Service, and the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute at Colorado State University formed the Rapid Fuels Reduction Assessment (RFRA) team to perform the comprehensive risk analysis. Over the summer and fall of 2021 a core team analyzed federal and state risk assessments to determine the most strategic areas for fuels reduction work to guide the current distribution of the Wildfire Mitigation Capacity Development Fund. 

Municipal, county, state, state-operated, federal, Tribal, and private lands as applicable to the funding programs offered through the Colorado Strategic Wildfire Action Program.

COSWAP’s Workforce Development Grant is currently closed for applications. The first funding round was open from February 1, 2022 to May 31, 2022. Stay tuned for information on the next round of grants.

Participation in COSWAP’s Landscape Resilience Investment is by invitation only. DNR coordinated directly with county leadership and Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative leaders in the Strategic Focus Areas to administer the Landscape Resilience Investment program

All projects must be focused on reducing wildfire risk to property and critical infrastructure. SWIFT and conservation corps projects must be appropriate for hand crew work. This includes, but is not limited to, forest thinning, fuelbreaks, chipping and/or biomass removal. Individual defensible space projects are not eligible. The Landscape Resilience Investment program focuses on cross-boundary hazardous fuel reduction projects, including prescribed fire and planning efforts, that create project connectivity across a landscape to reduce wildfire impacts to communities. 

  1. The Colorado Strategic Wildfire Action Program takes a targeted approach to reducing wildfire risk in Colorado, where the majority of the funding is focused in seven counties (Larimer, Boulder, Douglas, Jefferson, El Paso, Teller and La Plata) and the Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative focal areas. COSWAP also has a state level component for the DOC-SWIFT crews. COSWAP is one time funding that needs to be obligated by June 30, 2023 and can be spent on federal, state, state-operated, private municipal, county and tribal land.
  2. The Forest Restoration and Wildfire Risk Mitigation (FRWRM) program is a statewide competitive grant program through the Colorado State Forest Service. Eligible applicants include local community groups, local government entities such as fire protection districts, public and private utilities, state agencies, and non-profit groups. The grant program supports fuels and forest health projects, and/or capacity building projects.
  3. Matching contributions for FRWRM may be in the form of private, state or federal support for the project. State funds may be used as match; however, no more than 50 percent of the applicant’s matching funds can come from another state funding source. An exception is made if the applicant is a state agency, where more than 50 percent of matching funds can then come from a state source. Please contact your regional Colorado State Forest Service office for more information. 
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Supplemental Information 

Other Wildfire Mitigation Funding Opportunities

Information about Colorado and wildfire risks to life, property and infrastructure are found on the Colorado State Forest Atlas 

Colorado Youth Corps Association

Department of Corrections- SWIFT

Colorado State Forest Service guidelines for fuel breaks

Information on forest products/wood utilization in Colorado (Colorado Wood Utilization and Marketing Program)

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Stay connected

Sign up via this form to receive program updates. 

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Questions

For program questions please contact:

Alison Lerch, Program Administrator: alison.lerch@state.co.us 

or Courtney Young, Program Facilitator: courtney.young@state.co.us

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