Today at the Legislature: Fire and Ferrets

Today the Colorado Senate will be debating SB13-083, which creates a Prescribed Burning Program under the Colorado Dept. of Public Safety. The creation of this program is due to last spring’s disastrous Lower North Fork Fire in Jefferson County, which started when a controlled burn went out-of-control. (Read the Dept. of Natural Resources’ official review on the Lower North Fork Fire here). The Dept. of Public Safety has been undergoing changes as fire, homeland security, and emergency management functions are being moved out of other state agencies to be consolidated under CDPS. One of these changes is the new Division of Fire Prevention and Control, the website of which contains valuable information on fire safety and prevention. For more information, see also the Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment’s Wildfires, Prescribed Fires, Open Burning website.

black-footed ferret
Photo courtesy Colorado Parks & Wildlife

The Senate will also be considering SB13-169, which concerns reintroduction of black-footed ferrets in cases where a landowner consents to a safe-harbor agreement. Black-footed ferrets, according to the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, are “considered the most endangered mammal in North America.” On the brink of extinction in the 1980s, black-footed ferrets have slowly been making a comeback. The Division reports annually to the Legislature on the status of black-footed ferret reintroduction; you can read the reports here, as they are archived by our library. For more on this rare mammal, see the Division’s species profile.

You can watch or listen to all Colorado House and Senate floor debates on the Colorado Channel. If you miss the live debate, all proceedings are archived for access at any time. This resource also offers audio of all committee meetings.