NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS FOR TUESDAY, JULY 23RD


MOFFAT COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE FIRE TRUCK DESTROYED

The Moffat County Sheriff’s Office lost a fire truck yesterday, but all three firefighters on board escaped without injuries.  Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz says the truck was on its way to the Citadel Fire, traveling on Price Creek Road with a load of water, when one of the firefighters noticed flames coming from under the truck.  Within seconds of stopping to check it out, the truck was engulfed in flames.  The fire was due to a mechanical failure.  The truck was being leased, and was insured by the county.  The incident was mentioned in this morning’s County Commissioners meeting, as Jantz was giving an update on the Citadel Fire.  He praised his firefighting crew for holding a line on the fire that was protecting private property.  Pictured: Sheriff’s department fire truck.  Click picture to enlarge.

 

Fire Restrictions Lifted for Steamboat Springs and Routt County

Due to recent rains and improving fire conditions, the City of Steamboat Springs and Routt County are rescinding the existing fire restrictions for property located within the city limits effective at 2pm today.  However, rescinding the existing fire restrictions does not mean there is no fire danger; it just means the extreme conditions have somewhat moderated. Until the City and County receives a significant snowfall to ward off fires, outdoor enthusiasts are urged to remain cautious and continue fire safety practices when working or recreating on public and private lands.

At a minimum, please observe the following precautions (per Routt County): 

- Never, ever leave a campfire unattended; even to go for a short hike. The wind can blow sparks and cause a wildfire. 

- Build only a small fire on bare soil with brush cleared away, and try to use an existing fire ring.

- Pour water on the ashes and stir them, making sure the ashes and any unburned wood are cold to the touch before leaving.

Be sure to sign up for reverse notification on CodeRED® to receive critical messages to your home telephone, cellular telephone, and email or text in the event you are ever needed to evacuate during wildfires. You can find the link here .

 

 

FIRE CREWS WORKING ON A PAIR OF BLAZES IN NORTHWEST COLORADO

Fire crews have conducted a burnout operation off a road on the southwest side of the Citadel Fire, 40 miles northwest of Meeker, in order to establish an anchor point. That will provide a safe area for fire fighters to begin building fireline. The terrain is rough hard to access. At last report the lightning caused fire is estimated at 1,600 acres.  It started on Bureau of Land Management land and burned on to state land.  There have been no injuries reported, and three structures are threatened.   The Tschuddi Fire, 20 miles northwest of Meeker started on BLM land and moved on to Colorado Parks and Wildlife land. Crews have protected a historical CPW by burning out around the cabin which removes fuel for the fire. Another CPW cabin is one and one half miles northeast of the blaze.  The fire currently is 652 acres, and was also lightning caused.  There have been no injuries, and one structure is threatened.  Picture of Citadel Fire courtesy of BLM.

 

LAWMAKERS PUSH FOR FEMA TO PROVIDE MORE WILDFIRE PREVENTION FUNDS

Two senators are pushing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to detail its efforts to mitigate wildfires.  Colorado Democrat Michael Bennet and Idaho Republican Mike Crapo (KRAY’-poh) also want FEMA to identify funding obstacles for current mitigation programs.  The senators said yesterday they have added a measure in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill to do just that.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and western lawmakers have talked about the need for consistent funding to mitigate wildfire risks.  Last week the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of the Interior announced a partnership aimed at better leveraging federal, state and local resources to thin and restore forests around reservoirs and dams. The Western Watershed Enhancement Partnership aims to reduce the risk of wildfires that could harm water supplies.

 

PARKS AND WILDLIFE LOOK FOR PUBLIC INPUT ON POST MERGER ISSUES

In 2011, the Colorado legislature merged the Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks to create Colorado Parks and Wildlife. As part of that merger, the legislature directed Colorado Parks and Wildlife to prepare a five-year plan to set a strategic direction for the agency and to identify cost savings, efficiencies, and other effects of the merger.  Colorado Parks and Wildlife is developing this five-year plan, dubbed the “Path Forward,” on a foundation of several other planning efforts that the agency has underway to address everything from big game management to parks and trails. The process is also drawing heavily on the strategic plans that the former Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks had in place.  Colorado Parks and Wildlife will hold Open House meetings later this summer around the state to give local residents the opportunity to learn more and share their views.

 

USDA TO RECEIVE HUNDREDS OF ACRES FOR CONSERVATION

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will accept 1.9 million acres offered under the 45th Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up that ended in June. The Colorado FSA received over 1,100 offers on more than 167,000 thousand acres of land. Since 2009, USDA has enrolled nearly 12 million acres in new CRP. Currently, there are more than 26.9 million acres enrolled on 700,000 contracts nationwide.  CRP is a voluntary program that allows eligible landowners to receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource-conserving covers on eligible farmland throughout the duration of their 10 to 15 year contracts.  Under CRP, farmers and ranchers plant grasses and trees in fields and along streams or rivers. The plantings prevent soil and nutrients from washing into waterways, reduce soil erosion that may otherwise contribute to poor air and water quality, and provide valuable habitat for wildlife.

 

STATE TRYING TO GET BACK ENERGY MONEY

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers says federal officials have no authority for the sequestration of millions of dollars from federal mineral leases that are intended to be used by states to deal with energy development.  About $110 million is being withheld from the states, including more than $8 million from Colorado, to reduce the federal budget deficit.  Energy and mining companies pay royalties to the federal government for the rights to produce minerals from lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies.

 

 

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