Daily Archives: August 30, 2012

NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS AND SPORTS FOR THURSDAY, AUGUST 30TH

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LABOR DAY WEEKEND FIRE AND SAFETY TIPS

Outdoor activities are at their peak over the Labor Day Weekend – which can coincide with wildfire season in the Rocky Mountain Area. To keep the good times going this weekend, keep the following tips in mind:

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are in effect in Rio Blanco County and Bureau of Land Management public lands within the Rio Blanco and Moffat Counties. Campfires are allowed in established camp sites in established fire rings.  When traveling, find out if there are fire restrictions in effect where you plan to visit and prepare accordingly.

- Smoke in cleared areas and dispose of cigarettes properly
- Consider bringing a camp stove for your camping trip or picnic.
- Leave the fireworks at home. Possession or use of fireworks on public lands is prohibited.
- Don’t park your vehicle in dry weeds or tall grass. The hot catalytic converter on your car can start a fire in a very short time.
- Make sure your ATV (dirt bike, 4-wheeler, 3-wheeler) has an approved spark arrester and current state registration.
- Bring a water container and shovel so you can make sure your campfire is completely extinguished before you leave. Smother campfire with water and dirt and stir embers until they are cool to the touch.
- Leaving a campfire unattended is a finable offense.

  • Scrape dead grass and other flammable materials away from campfire sites.
  • Keep campfires small and under control.
  • Keep a shovel and a water container nearby to douse escaped embers.
  • Put campfires dead out before leaving your campsite or going to sleep; this requires adding water and stirring hot coals until they are cool to the touch.
  • Do not park vehicles in tall dry grass, since hot tailpipes can cause fine fuels to catch on fire.
  • Do not use fireworks as they are strictly prohibited on federal lands.
  • Remember that any ignition – cigarettes, campfires, gunfire, vehicles – could cause a wildland fire, under the right conditions.

 Dead and Dying Trees Have Increased Risks – While many campgrounds and picnic areas have reopened following removal of beetle-killed trees, most undeveloped/general forest areas still contain extensive dead and dying trees that can fall without warning, endangering people and blocking roads.  Recreationists should consider the following guidelines to reduce their risk when traveling through or recreating in beetle-killed areas.

- Be aware of your surroundings and avoid dense patches of dead trees.
- Stay out of the forest when weather forecasts call for strong winds. If you get caught in the forest when winds kick up, head to a clearing out of reach of any potential falling trees.
- Place tents and park vehicles in areas where they will not be hit if trees fall.
- When driving in remote areas of the forest, park close to a main road, rather than on a spur or one-way section.  If trees fall across the road you may be trapped.
- Bring an ax or chainsaw to remove fallen trees from roads to avoid being trapped.

  • Do not rely on cell phones for safety as there is no coverage in many areas of the forest.
  • Work to remove beetle-killed trees is ongoing.  Please be aware of and stay away from heavy equipment and log trucks.  Also, please respect associated road closures and do not try to drive around barriers.

Leading up to the Labor Day Weekend, minor changes to fire restrictions in unincorporated Moffat County are now in effect. The changes now allow small charcoal fires….and wood burning fires in contained stoves….and campfires in established fire rings. Now acceptable with a permit from the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office will be charcoal pits used for large cookouts. Permits for using welding torches are no longer required. Be aware that all other restrictions in unincorporated Moffat County including prohibitions on bonfires and open trash burning remain in effect. Note that in Dinosaur National Monument the current stage 2 restrictions will remain in effect through Sunday.  Beginning Monday campfires in the Monument will be allowed, but only in established campgrounds….and the use of charcoal will remain prohibited at the overlooks along Harper’s Corner.  It is important to note that the restrictions in Craig and other towns are not effected by any of the above changes.

 

Ely Creek Backcountry Campsites Closed Due to Black Bear Activity

Two backcountry campsites at Ely Creek, located along the Jones Hole Trail in the Dinosaur National Monument, are closed until further notice due to black bear activity in the area. “In an effort to reduce interactions between people and the bear and to reduce the possibility that the bear will get and become habituated to human food, we have decided to close the campground for the remainder of the season.”  Stated Superintendent Risser.  “Black bears start to prepare for hibernation in the summer, when they begin gorging on carbohydrate-rich nuts, berries, and other foods to gain weight for the upcoming winter,” explained Natural Resource Management Program Manager Joel Brumm. “It is important that bears be allowed to feed on wild food sources during late summer and fall to gain the weight they need for the upcoming winter. During this time, bears can gain as much as 30 pounds per week, and they require a total reserve of approximately 100 pounds of fat for their winter hibernation.”  “We have had numerous sightings reported to park staff over the past few weeks,” acknowledged Dinosaur National Monument Chief Ranger, Lee Buschkowsky. “The bear seems to be residing in the area – at least temporarily.” Park staff will not take reservations for the campsites. The Jones Hole Trail remains open at this time. The trail is very popular with fisherman and day hikers. The Jones Hole river campsites also remain open, but these sites are reserved for river rafting groups through September 14.  Visitors to the popular Jones Hole Trail are advised to be on the lookout for black bears. Although visitors to Dinosaur National Monument may not think of the monument as “bear country,” frequent sightings confirm black bears do live here. Hikers are encouraged to be alert for their presence and report bear sightings as soon as possible at a visitor center or ranger station.  Park visitors are reminded to store food, garbage, camp coolers, and other items that can attract bears in bear-proof storage boxes or hang any items in a bag from a tree. This helps keep bears from becoming conditioned to human foods and helps keep park visitors and their property safe. Should you encounter a bear, never approach it. You should leave the area immediately.

 

Back To School Bus Safety Tips For Parents And Kids

A new school year means new routines. And if your child is one of the millions of kids who ride the school bus, you should be encouraged by U.S. Department of Transportation statistics that cite it as the safest mode of transportation for children to get to and from school.  Nevertheless, riding the school bus safely does require children to be aware and follow specific safety procedures. That’s why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Chuggington, the educational animated children’s television program, have partnered to offer parents and children important school bus safety tips as part of the ‘Think Safe, Ride Safe, Be Safe!’ traffic safety campaign. The national traffic safety campaign helps parents teach their children about NHTSA’s recommended pedestrian, school bus, bike and car seat safety guidelines.

Below are a few school bus safety tips from the ‘Think Safe, Ride Safe, Be Safe!’ campaign for you to share with your children to make riding the school bus a safer experience:

• Be especially careful around the “danger zone,” which is 10 feet in front, behind and on each side of the school bus. To avoid this area, wait for the bus at least five giant steps away from the road.

• Wait to board the school bus until the school bus driver says it’s safe to do so. Kids should board one at a time and use the handrails to go up and down the stairs.

• Once on the school bus, go straight to your seat and remain sitting, facing the front of the school bus.

• Look out for cars before getting off the school bus. Once off, take five giant steps away from the school bus.

• Wait for the driver or crossing guard to signal it is safe to cross the street. Always look left-right-left to make sure no cars are coming before crossing the road.

Traffic safety education should be a positive, shared family experience. Parents can go online with children and take the pledge to ‘Be Safe!’ together at www.chuggington.com/safety. In addition to the pledge (to date, more than 500,000 children have taken the pledge to ‘Be Safe!’), families can access a safety game, activities, downloadable tip sheets and even a free traffic safety app.

By following the rules, both parents and children can help make getting to and from school each day safer for everyone.

 

MEETING TODAY IN CRAIG ABOUT PROPOSED CASINO

The Sleeping Giant Group, that organization that is proposing a Native-American-owned casino near Hayden will hold a community meeting this afternoon at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion.  The meeting will begin at 5:30.  The Group is expected to make a brief presentation and take questions and provide answers to attendees.  A link to the Sleeping Giant Group’s Casino website can be found here.

 

Bovine Trichomoniasis Update

The Colorado Department of Agriculture reminds cattle owners to test their herd for Bovine Trichomoniasis.

·         As of 8/29/2012, there are currently two positive trich locations in two Colorado counties: Las Animas and Pueblo.

·         So far this year, there have been 12 trich cases in eight counties: Conejos, Kit Carson, La Plata, Las Animas, Montezuma, Pueblo, Weld and Yuma.

·         A map detailing trichomoniasis sample submissions by county and the prevalence for trichomoniasis-positive counties can be found here.

“Testing and monitoring herds for trichomoniasis is the best method of controlling this infection,” said State Veterinarian, Dr. Keith Roehr.  “Cattle owners should talk to their veterinarian to determine the best management practices for their herd.”  “Trich” is a costly, yet preventable, infection that can affect dairy and beef cattle.  If bulls become infected, the percentage of open cows can increase from 5 to 30 percent.  Trich is a venereal disease of cattle caused by Trichomonas foetus (T. Foetus).  The T. foetus infection causes fertility problems, such as early embryonic death or abortion of the calf, and is asymptomatic in bulls.  Colorado trich regulations require all non-virgin bulls changing ownership or being transported into Colorado be tested for T. foetus unless the animal is going to slaughter.  Bulls on public land grazing permits or with grazing associations must also be tested prior to turn-out.  Several diagnostic laboratories across the state offer trich testing; samples must be taken by an accredited veterinarian.  For testing questions call CDA Animal Industry Division at (303) 239-4161.

 

The Denver Broncos have one more preseason game to go before they name their 53 players.  The Broncos take the field versus the Arizona Cardinals tonight to conclude the preseason. John Fox has already stated that Peyton Manning and many starters won’t see the field. Apparently, the Cardinals won’t play many of their starters either.  As is the case every preseason, there are many players on the bubble. Whether it is veterans, rookies or free agents, every type of player is fighting for a job in the last preseason game. Those players on the bubble will get their final chance to shine in tonight’s game.  You can hear tonight’s game on 55 Country.  The pre-game starts at 7:05pm, the kickoff is at 9pm.