GRAND LAKE, Colo. (CBS4) – The community of Grand Lake is only beginning to see the scope of work needed to be done after the East Troublesome Fire before the snow starts flying again. While emergency funding is available, the window to clean things in the mountain community is short.
“There’s rebuilding… just having the needed resources to be able to get the work done before the snow starts falling again, and we’re really excited about the summertime, but it’s short for us. Come September and October of next year, we’re going to be watching the skies for snow and for lightning unfortunately,” Steve Kudron, Mayor of Grand Lake.
Kudron met with Sen. Michael Bennet Tuesday to talk about more federal assistance- specifically, the Outdoor Restoration Partnerships Act.
“It’s a billion dollar federal program designed to help even small towns have direct access to federal funding, to be able to do their own projects to protect their citizens,” said Kudron. “He is working on ways to be able to create funding for efforts for things like mitigation and ways to be able to keep the fire from being so costly not only to people and to property.”
The impacted area will have federal assistance from the Emergency Watershed Protection Program, but the scope of damage is much larger than the immediate funding can provide.
“$38 million has been committed to doing infrastructure repair and water mitigation and fire mitigation work, but that’s just the beginning of the need. We believe that with the $12 million that’s been allocated, that that money will be gone by the middle of June,” he said.
Kudron said only a portion of the $38 million is available immediately.
“Even once we’re able to begin the work of what’s been damaged, we also need to protect against what could happen again in the future,” he said.
The community is not only looking toward the future as far as fire mitigation is concerned, but Kudron said severe flooding from the burn scar is a concern with spring runoff just beginning.
“The snow is gone and that means that the water is beginning to run, and we knew that after the fire that we were going to have risk of flood and fire debris flow,” he said. “We may not see the flood right where we’re standing, we have to know that the bridges that get us from here back to town are at risk.”
The county is providing resources to residents to help keep everyone prepared. Among stacks of sandbags, the county is providing free of charge, NOAA weather radios so residents can stay ahead of inclement spring and summer weather.
On Saturday, volunteers will begin cleaning up debris left over from the fire.
You can help with volunteer efforts in Grand County by adopting a family’s needs.