The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has approved a grant for the state of Colorado. The state will use the grant to directly distribute $6 million to victims of the Marshall Fire.
The Marshall Fire ignited on December 30, 2021. It started as a grass fire in Boulder County, Colorado. The fire quickly grew to 6,200 acres by the night of December 31. That night, heavy snowfall finally contained the fire. But not before it tore through communities and destroyed homes. In terms of structures consumed by the fire, it is considered the most destructive fire in Colorado history.
An estimated 1,084 structures were destroyed and another 149 damaged. Now, HUD officials are allowing the state of Colorado to disperse funds in Community Development Block Grants. They are also waiving the rule that requires Boulder County to administer the funds. Instead, they are allowing the state to do it.
According to state and county officials, this rule would have strained Boulder County’s already limited resources. This would lead to delays in getting the funds where they need to go.
“This enables private nonprofit entities to receive and quickly disperse these funds to residents,” Rick Garcia, executive director of the Department of Local Affairs, said in a press release. “Through the [Community Development Block Grant] waiver, the Department of Local Affairs will have access to additional federal funds to augment its Disaster Resilience Rebuilding grant/loan program for Marshall Fire survivors and impacted households.”
Department of Housing and Urban Development Approves $6 Million For Use in Rebuilding After 2021 Marshall Fire
The money will help survivors rebuild their homes, said state officials. Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, and U.S. Representative Joe Neguse wrote a letter in August to HUD. They asked for the county rule waiver, and HUD approved.
“We greatly appreciate HUD’s flexibility and support on this matter,” said Bennet, according to a report from Out There Colorado. “Every dollar we save by streamlining the process is another dollar for the survivors of the Marshall Fire as they continue to rebuild.”
“We will keep working every day to ensure that federal resources are brought to bear as our community recovers from this unprecedented disaster,” Neguse added.
During the fire, Louisville, Superior, and portions of Broomfield evacuated. The Marshall Fire roared through communities, at least two people died, and six burn injuries were reported in the county. Before the Marshall Fire, the 2013 Black Forest Fire was the most devastating in the state of Colorado. But, just 12 hours after ignition, Marshall surpassed Black Forest completely. While Black Forest burned 14,280 acres compared to Marshall’s 6,200 acres, Marshall destroyed more structures.
Allegedly, the fire was human-caused. Witnesses reported that a shed owned by the controversial religious group Twelve Tribes was the first possible ignition point. The other possible point was upwind and started around noon on December 30.