LABOR DAY WEEKEND SAFETY TIPS AND INFORMATION
The following information is from previous KRAI.COM stories that have been updated
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.
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 the restrictions specific to Dinosaur National Monument in the story below.
Dinosaur National Monument Reduces Fire Restrictions. Superintendent Mary Risser announced that fire restrictions within Dinosaur National Monument have been reduced from Stage II to Stage I. The cooler weather and increased moisture have lessened the fire danger somewhat, but not to the point that all restrictions can be lifted. To protect visitors and park staff in Dinosaur National Monument and the natural and cultural resources, open fire restrictions remain in place. Building or using any open fire, campfire, or charcoal fire except within National Park Service-provided fire grates at developed campgrounds located at Green River, Split Mountain, Rainbow Park, Echo Park, Gates of Lodore and Deerlodge Park is prohibited. Charcoal fires or the use of charcoal in grills along the Harpers Corner Road and at Plug Hat Butte Picnic Area are still prohibited at this time due to the dry and windy conditions in this area. Stoves that use pressurized gas or liquid fuel are permitted. All backcountry camp fires are prohibited, including along the Green and Yampa Rivers. This includes building any type of fire in a fire pan. Smoking is permitted only in enclosed vehicles, developed recreation site, or in areas cleared of all flammable material. Fireworks are strictly prohibited in Dinosaur National Monument. These restrictions will remain in effect until such time as the fire danger in the park becomes less severe .
All fire restrictions on BLM managed land in Routt County have been removed, which now allows people to have recreational fires. Restrictions are lifted for the Routt National Forest, unincorporated areas and state land in Routt County and for Oak Creek and Hayden. In Yampa and Steamboat Stage 2 restrictions remain in effect.
In coordination with other federal, state and local agencies, fire restrictions are rescinded on the Brush Creek-Hayden and Laramie Ranger Districts of the Medicine Bow National Forest. While several factors are considered in fire restriction decisions, increased fuel moisture, the reduced occurrence of human-caused fires, and favorable long-term fire weather forecasts helped influence this decision. Despite increased precipitation in July and part of August, overall drought conditions are expected to persist over the next several weeks. Forest visitors are advised to use caution when building and maintaining campfires. Always make sure that campfires are dead out, meaning that coals and other burned materials are cool before leaving a fire unattended. Due to ongoing warm and dry conditions, Stage 2 restrictions remain in effect on the Douglas Ranger District, which includes the Laramie Peak Unit of the Medicine Bow National Forest and the Thunder Basin National Grassland. Under Stage 2 Fire Restrictions, no fires are allowed, even in developed campgrounds and picnic area.
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.
DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE
As Coloradans prepare to head out on the roads this Labor Day Weekend, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and statewide law enforcement agencies have a warning: Don’t even think about drinking and driving because DUI patrols will be out in force. Sobriety checkpoints and increased DUI patrols are under way across the state through early Tuesday morning. The enforcement is part of the summer-long “100 Days of Heat” campaign and coincides with the National DUI Crackdown. Since Colorado joined the national effort on Aug. 17th, law enforcement officers have averaged over 50 DUI arrests per day. That number is expected to go way up because only half of the 110 participating agencies have reported their arrests so far, according to CDOT. During last year’s national DUI crackdown, police made 1,442 DUI arrests. “There’s no day off this Labor Day weekend for hundreds of troopers, police officers and deputies who will be working tirelessly to keep impaired drivers off our roadways,” said Colonel James Wolfinbarger, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Now is the time to make a plan for a designated driver or public transportation. There are many big events across Colorado this weekend, from the Rocky Mountain Showdown in Denver, to the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally in Ignacio, and the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo. No matter where you are in the state, please take the time to designate a sober driver and don’t forget to buckle up.” Here are “DUI Arrests By the Numbers”: Since the “100 Days of Heat” campaign began Memorial Weekend, Colorado law enforcement agencies have made 2,097 DUI arrests in Colorado during enforcement periods and at checkpoints. According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s annual crime report, 26,146 adults and juveniles were arrested for DUI in 2011, making it an average of 72 DUI arrests per day in the state. In addition to increased patrols and saturation patrols, the following agencies are conducting sobriety checkpoints:
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.
Wyoming Murder investigation focused on four areas
Law enforcement officials in Rock Springs yesterday today described the four areas of particular concentration in their investigation of the murder of 17-year-old Rigoberto Alvarado, whose body was found in a shallow grave outside Rock Springs on August 19 by a group exploring the long-abandoned remains of coal camps and coal mining operations.
The case’s timeline – tracking Alvarado’s movements from 8:30 PM on the night of July 29, when he left his family’s home at the Imperial Apartments in Rock Springs – continues to be of prime importance, Sheriff County Sheriff Rich Haskell and Chief Mike Lowell of the Rock Springs Police Department said on Friday. Alvarado’s father, Rigoberto Alvarado, Sr., reported his son missing to the Rock Springs Police Department the next morning, July 30, when he did not return home. Investigators report that they have advanced the timeline considerably, and have identified several people who were in Alvarado’s company that night.
110-plus interviews have been conducted by city and county detectives since Alvarado’s disappearance. Polygraph examinations have come into play, and one individual who was scheduled for a polygraph failed to appear for an appointment.
Detectives and crime scene technicians have collected hundreds of items of evidence in the case thus far, including DNA evidence, all of which has been submitted to the Wyoming State Crime Laboratory in Cheyenne for forensic examination and analysis.
Cause of Death
According to detectives, Alvarado suffered several types of violent injury, any one of which could have been the cause of death. The nature of those injuries is being withheld for the time being while the forensic examinations are ongoing. Alvarado, whose family moved to Rock Springs from the Pomona, California, area, attended the Rock Springs High School. He was known as “Rigo” or “Junior” to his friends. A $5,000 reward is being offered for information resulting in the arrest and conviction of persons involved in his death. Anyone who has such information is asked to contact either the Rock Springs Police Department at (307) 389-0264 or the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office at (307) 350-4010. Calls will be handled with discretion.
Football scores from friday night
Steamboat fell to Eagle Valley 35-21
SoRoCo defeated Gilpen County 56-0
Meeker lost to Grand Valley 49-6
Hayden beat Belleview Academy 70-24
Rangely fell to Dove Creek 64-36
In football today:
The defending state champions, Little Snake River Valley travel to play 10 Sleep at 2pm.
Moffat County defeated Ridgeview Academy 40-15
In Girls Volleyball Today
Moffat County, Meeker, Rangely and Steamboat travel for tournament play in Glenwood
In Boys Soccer today
Steamboat will host Centarus at 10am
Today in Rodeo action
Moffat County will compete at Motezuma-Cortez