U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) came to Bayfield to talk about wildland fire and mitigation efforts on Wednesday, May 27. He visited with staff of the Upper Pine River Fire Protection District and saw a fire mitigation project at Deer Valley Estates.
Tipton was a sponsor of House Bill 3333, known as the Wildfire Prevention Act of 2014, and the Healthy Forest Management Act of 2015, or H.R. 695.
The Healthy Forests Restoration Act places renewed emphasis on community planning by extending a variety of benefits to communities with a wildfire protection plan in place.
Upper Pine has received federal grants appropriated for mitigation projects for the last two years. Because both Deer Valley Estates and Forest Lakes have Community Wildfire Protection Plans in place, the grant money is used to assist private property owners in mitigation to reduce the risk of wildfire.
After breakfast with the firefighters and local supporters at the Upper Pine River Fire Administration Building, Tipton rode out to Deer Valley to survey the work in one of Upper Pine's Type III fire engines, the workhorse of most firefighting fleets.
Tipton met with Upper Pine Fire Chief Bruce Evans and the wildland firefighters from Upper Pine Crew 6 mitigating the property of Emil and Ellen Maxton.
"I think it's great that people who sign these programs into law see they are really making a difference back in their home district," Chief Evans said. The congressman also met with members of the Deer Valley Homeowners Association and John Beebe, a Deer Valley resident and director on Upper Pine's board. Deer Valley has been a model fire mitigation project, Evans added.
Tipton spent about an hour walking properties and observing the crews while discussing other pending legislation. Top on his list was House Bill H.R. 1818, the Veterans Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2015. This bill will make it easier for veterans to transfer their medical experience gained on deployment or in the armed services to civilian jobs.