I love Adams County, and part of my love for Adams County means loving those who protect our residents and our families.
Every single day our firefighters run into the flames and put their lives on the line to protect us. I feel compelled to speak about the increasing risk to our protectors when responding to wildland fires.
Many firefighters across our state respond to wildland fires, requiring them to work in exhaustive and grueling conditions.
We are in a statewide drought and every county in the state is under a fire ban.
Our firefighters do not wonder if there will be another wildland fire; rather, they wonder when and where the next one will occur, then the next one, and the next. These wildland fires are increasing in number and increasing in intensity.
Fighting wildland fires is dangerous and demanding, both physically and mentally. The terrain can be difficult, the fires can burn hotter and are unpredictable.
The equipment is heavier and the air is not safe to breathe. Our wildland firefighters are often forced to travel far distances away from their families for long periods of time.
So why do I share this with you? Because I need you to join me in supporting our wildland firefighters by taking action on climate change. Wildland fires are more frequent, more dangerous and hotter because of climate change.
Luckily, we live in Colorado, which is a national leader on climate. Businesses and local governments across the state are also implementing measures to mitigate and respond to climate change.
Specifically, Colorado has established aggressive goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I supported the creation of those goals and now I call on the Air Quality Control Commission and the Public Utilities Commission to implement them.
Implement these goals because we need the state to join local governments, businesses and regions who are doing everything they can to combat climate change.
There are many reasons to care about climate change. But one of the most important reasons is to support our firefighters who protect our families, our land and our beautiful state.
Asking them to risk their lives over and over again is not acceptable unless we work to reduce the risks and make their jobs safer. We must take action on climate now.
Steve O’Dorisio is an Adams County Commissioner.
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