NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS FOR THURSDAY, JUNE 27TH

FIRE RESTRICTIONS COMING FOR MOFFAT, ROUTT, RIO BLANCO COUNTIES

The Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit has announced that many Bureau of Land Management lands in Northwest Colorado will soon enter into fire restrictions to lessen the chance of human caused wildfires.  Fire managers base decisions about fire restrictions on specific moisture measurements in vegetation known as Live Fuel Moisture Content. Other risk factors are also examined. Several weeks of hot and dry weather has increased fire danger causing some BLM managed land to enter into fire restrictions.  BLM managed land in Eagle County will enter into Stage 1 Fire Restrictions today.  BLM managed land in Rio Blanco, Moffat, Jackson and Grand Counties will enter into Stage 1 Fire Restrictions on Tuesday.  The restrictions will be in place until further notice. Violation is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000, imprisonment for up to a year, or both. Those found responsible for starting wildfires will also face restitution costs of suppressing the fire.  A description of what the restrictions entail can be found below:

•     campfires are only allowed within designated fire grates in developed campgrounds (i.e. a metal, in-ground containment structure — fire pans and rock campfire rings are not acceptable)

•     no fires of any type including charcoal outside of developed areas

•     no smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or in a barren area free of vegetation

•     no use of explosive materials

•     no welding or operation of an acetylene or other similar torch with open flame except from an area that has been cleared of vegetation

•     no operation of any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed and in working order

 

TIPTON INTRODUCES RESOLUTION ON FOREST HEALTH

Stressing that many of the fires burning in Colorado and in Western forests could have been prevented, today, Representative Scott Tipton introduced a resolution on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to express that more needs to be done to manage federal forests and take action to immediately address the conditions that lead to catastrophic wildfires, including those currently burning in the 3rd District.  Last year Colorado experienced two record breaking fires, and already this year the Black Forest Fire has killed two people and destroyed more homes than any other in Colorado history. Currently, the West Fork Complex Fire burning in the 3rd District is out of control and is the nation’s highest fire priority. In 2012, Colorado wildfires destroyed nearly 650 structures, killed six Coloradans, burned more than 384,000 acres of land, and caused over $538 million in property losses. With dry conditions, poor forest health, and fires burning throughout the state, this year is shaping up to be equally devastating.  The cost of proactive healthy forest management is far less than the cost of wildfire suppression and cleaning up the aftermath. According to the Forest Service, the agency spent $296 million on hazardous fuels treatment nationwide last year while spending $1.77 billion on wildfire suppression during the same time. Tipton’s legislation would streamline hazardous fuels reduction projects and make up-front investments in forest health and prevention.

 

GROUP RELEASES FIREWORKS INFORMATION AND TIPS

With the 4th of July coming up next week, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued its annual report of deaths and injuries involving legal and illegal fireworks for calendar year 2012.  The group says fireworks can have a life-altering impact on consumers, including severe eye injuries, loss of limbs, and even death.  Last year, CPSC received reports of six men who were killed by professional-grade, homemade or banned firework devices. In addition, an estimated 8,700 consumers were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries.  Between June 22, 2012 and July 22, 2012, more than 5,000 consumers were treated in hospital emergency rooms due to fireworks-related injuries. Sixty percent of all fireworks injuries occur during the 30 days surrounding the July 4 holiday.  More than half of these reported injuries involved burns to the hands, head and face. About 1,000 reported injuries involved sparklers and bottle rockets, fireworks that are frequently and incorrectly considered safe for young children.  A list of fireworks safety tips can be found below:

·       Make sure the fireworks you want to buy are legal in your area before buying or using them.

·       Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Parents may not realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees ─ hot enough to melt some metals.

·       Always have an adult closely supervise fireworks activities if older children are allowed to handle devices.

·       Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.

·       Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.

·       Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.

·       Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.

·       Never point or throw fireworks at another person.

·       Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.

·       Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.

·       After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device to prevent a trash fire.

·       ATF encourages the public to report the manufacture or sale of illegal fireworks to your local law enforcement agencies or to the ATF hotline at 1-888-ATF-BOMB (1-888-283-2662).

 

SCHOOL FUNDING BILL MAY BE ON NOVEMBER BALLOT

Colorado voters are being asked to approve an income tax hike that would raise an additional $950 million to fund public schools.  Education advocates reached an agreement on a plan that would provide decreased class sizes, increased access to kindergarten and bolstered special education programs.  The proposed measure would tax income of more than $75,000 at a higher rate, which drew opposition from some people who argued for a flat tax increase.  Supporters still have to collect signatures of 86,105 registered Colorado voters by August 5th to get the measure on the ballot.

 

JOURNEY OF HOPE TO PASS ARRIVE IN CRAIG TODAY

Journey of Hope is returning to Northwest Colorado.  Journey of Hope is a program of Push America, the national philanthropy of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, which raises funds and awareness for people with disabilities.  Each year, fraternity members form teams to ride bicycles from the West Coast to the East Coast to help raise that awareness.  One of those teams will arrive in Craig today.  After a 90 mile ride from Dinosaur, they’ll show up at the Boys and Girls Club at 3 for a Kids on the Block puppet show as well as a presentation on bike safety.  The team will also have dinner and a Friendship Visit with Horizons Specialized Services at 6.  The team will stay overnight, and then make their way east tomorrow morning.  The plan to be in Washington D.C. August 10th.

 

RECALL PROTESTS HAVE COURT DATES

Colorado officials have scheduled a hearing July 3rd to address a protest of a petition to recall state Senator Angela Giron, of Pueblo.  Giron is the second Colorado Democrat facing a potential recall election after supporting new gun control measures that take effect Monday.  Senate President John Morse also is fighting a recall effort. A hearing on a protest of the petition for Morse’s recall is scheduled today.  Supporters of both senators contend petitioners failed to expressly call for an election, as the state constitution requires, when they collected signatures seeking to oust the two.

 

STATE OFFICIALS PROMOTING TOURISM TO JAPANESE OFFICIALS

Japanese business leaders are descending on Denver this week in a visit aimed at increasing Colorado tourism.  The visit is largely sponsored by United Airlines as a way to sustain the airline’s new nonstop route between Denver International Airport and Tokyo’s Narita International Airport by promoting tourist travel.  Organizers hope journalists on the trade mission will write about the state as an attractive destination.