Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says 62 of Colorado’s 64 counties qualify for federal disaster relief due to drought conditions.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is planning a two-day trip to Colorado and New Mexico as wildfires continue to force evacuations, threaten buildings and scorch large swaths of land in both states.
A final proposal for managing 4.2 million acres of roadless forest land in Colorado includes higher protection for 1.2 million of those acres, with even fewer exceptions for roads, power lines or other development, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told The Associated Press.
There have already been two major fires in Colorado this year, and federal officials say as more break out in the state this year they’ll be ready.
The U.S. Forest Service has consented to expanding federal leases that Mountain Coal Co. uses to extract coal from the West Elk Mine.
Gov. John Hickenlooper has formally requested federal drought assistance for Elbert and Douglas counties.
Groups representing oil and gas companies say they’re concerned that Colorado’s proposed rule for managing roadless forests would essentially designate more areas as wilderness.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated Fremont County in Colorado as a primary natural disaster due to a series of freezes that occurred in April and May, and expanded drought assistance to nine counties.
A group that lobbies on behalf of western Colorado communities is urging federal officials to approve a plan for roadless forest land as it was originally submitted.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he expects to make a final decision this year on Colorado’s proposed rule for managing 4.2 million acres of roadless national forest land in the state, capping six years of work.