Northwest Colorado fire update

Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit crews gained containment on some area fires and as of yesterday continued to battle the Wild Rose and Collins fires.  New fire activity decreased yesterday allowing area crews to concentrate assets to gaining containment and control on area fires.  The previously unnamed fire near Willow Creek, the Razorback Fire, is now contained and controlled.  Quick deployment of air assets to that fire prevented it from spreading providing crews time to respond before increased winds could spread the fire.  Wild Rose Fire Road Closures: Rio Blanco County Road 116 closure has been lifted at Highway 139. However the road to Texas Mountain remains closed. RBCR 113 remains closed; RBCR 107 remains closed from Highway 139 to RBCR 116. The Wild Rose Fire is burning near Texas Mountain, south of Rangely and the Collins Fire is burning in the Piceance Basin.  No new fires were reported to the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit yesterday.

Denver Teen Killed In I-70 Crash

The Colorado State Patrol is investigating a single vehicle fatal crash that occurred Saturday morning around 6:30.  A 1997 Honda CR-V was traveling eastbound on Colorado Interstate 70 near Silt, Colorado when the driver lost control of the vehicle and the vehicle rolled two times.  The driver, a 19 year old female from Denver, was ejected from the vehicle and killed.  At this time, the Colorado State Patrol is investigating the cause of the crash, but drug use is suspected as a contributing factor in the crash.  The Colorado State Patrol would like to remind everyone to take two seconds to buckle your
seatbelt, and to abstain from using drugs/alcohol when you plan on driving a vehicle.

Respect Mother Nature and Baby Wildlife

Warm weather is here, and with it comes the arrival of baby birds and mammals to Colorado.  It’s a good time to remember that newborn wildlife may be found in local yards, along trails, or in open spaces — and the best advice is to leave them alone.

Each year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife receives scores of calls from concerned humans about wildlife that have been “abandoned” by adult animals.  Many are tempted to “help” a young animal by picking it up or trying to feed it, however it is critical that people understand there is no substitute for their natural parents.

Wildlife experts agree that it is quite normal for adult animals to leave their young in a safe place while they go forage for food.  And often baby birds are learning to fly or fledging, near their nests when they are deemed abandoned. While well-meaning people sometimes gather up this baby wildlife and bring them to wildlife rehabilitation facilities, it is often the wrong thing to do.

“Baby mammals are nearly scentless in order to prevent predators from finding them,” said Janet George, senior terrestrial biologist for CPW.  “When humans touch these animals, they are imparting them with a scent their adults will not recognize or even fear.  This can result in true abandonment of healthy offspring.”

Baby birds are a different story.  They can be moved out of harm’s way or placed back in the nest if they are songbirds.  However, do not try this with raptors!  Great-horned owls and other raptors are territorial and have been known to fly at humans seen as a threat to their young.

If you find young wildlife, enjoy a quick glimpse, leave the animal where it is, and keep pets out of the area. Quietly observe the animal from a distance using binoculars and don’t hover so close that the wild parents are afraid to return to the area.

“If 24 hours go by and the parent does not return, it is possible the newborn was abandoned or something happened to the adult animal,” said Jenny Campbell, customer service expert with CPW.  “Call our office and we will work with a certified wildlife rehabilitation center to get aid for the wildlife if possible.  Don’t move the animal yourself.”

“It’s hard to stand back when your instincts are telling you to do something,” said Lea Peshock, Animal Care Supervisor at Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. “But the best chance these animals truly have is staying in the wild.”

“The most important rule to follow when you encounter a baby mammal or songbird that you suspect may be abandoned is to wait at a distance and observe.  

If it’s established that the animal is an orphan, remember not to feed it or even give it water. This can be a very hard rule to follow, but there are good reasons behind it.

“The animal can aspirate or consume the wrong type of food and die. If you feed a cold animal, it can die. Given there are so many variables, the most important thing you can do for it is let it be assessed by a licensed wildlife rehabilitator,” said Peshock. “As much as we feel the natural pull to help animals that we think are in trouble, sometimes it’s best to just leave the animal be.”

In addition to potential harm for wildlife, humans need to recognize the potential harm to people and pets, as well.  There can be risks associated with the handling of wildlife animals, including disease transmission of rabies, distemper or other illnesses.  Wildlife can also carry fleas that might subsequently spread disease to humans or pets.

Finally, it is imperative for Coloradoans to understand that it is illegal to own or possess wildlife in the state.  People can avoid heartache if they don’t “adopt” the cute baby raccoon or skunk.  Human-raised and hand-fed animals are rarely returned to the wild due to their lack of survival skills or imprint on humans.  Licensed wildlife rehabilitators are trained to use methods that will give a wild animal the best chance of surviving upon release.

Colorado Horse Owners Urged to Watch for Behavioral Changes

The Colorado Department of Agriculture is encouraging livestock and pet owners to discuss the need for rabies vaccination with their local veterinarian and to monitor their animals for behavioral changes.

“Animal owners need to primarily look for any dramatic nervous system changes such as muscle tremors, weakness, lameness, stumbling, or paralysis.  Those are some of the hallmark signs that the animal may be suffering from rabies,” said State Veterinarian, Dr. Keith Roehr.

Additional examples of unusual behavior include: wild mammals that show no fear of people and pets; nocturnal animals that are active in daylight; and bats found on the ground, in swimming pools or that have been caught by a pet.  Rabid carnivores, such as skunks, foxes, bobcats, coyotes, dogs and cats, may become aggressive and may attempt to bite people, pets and livestock.

Livestock and pet owners are also encouraged to discuss vaccination with their veterinarian for animals that could be exposed to wildlife that carry and could transmit the rabies virus to dogs, cats, horses, small ruminants, llamas, alpacas, and petting zoo animals.

Rabies is a viral disease infecting the brain and central nervous system. The clinical appearance of rabies typically falls into two types:  “aggressive” and “dumb.”  Aggressive rabies symptoms include combativeness and violent behavior and sensitivity to touch and other kinds of stimulation.  There is also a “dumb” form of the disease in which the animal is lethargic, weak in one or more limbs, and unable to raise its head or make sounds because its throat and neck muscles are paralyzed.

Rabies can be passed from animals to humans.  Rabies is spread primarily through the bite of rabid animals, resulting in the spread of the disease through their infected saliva. Rabies also can be spread when saliva from an infected animal gets into open wounds, cuts or enters through membranes of the eyes, nose or mouth.  No cure exists for rabies once symptoms appear although there is a vaccine to prevent the infection.


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