Milk Creek Fire Continues To Burn

The Milk Creek Fire, located about 15 miles northeast of Meeker, CO and 3.5 miles east ofYellowjacketPass, was reported on July 4. Initial attack resources responded immediately to the fire report. The fire is now approximately five acres and slowly burning in an aspen/conifer stand.  Officials are managing the fire to reduce dead and downed vegetation (fuels) within the area and to improve forest health. The White River Fire Module, specializing in these type fires, has been on the fire for the last three days and continues to monitor the burn. Their assessment is that this fire will not become large. Some growth is expected to occur in patches of subalpine fir that is surrounded by aspen and is serving as a natural barrier.

According to Blanco District Ranger Ken Coffin, “We are managing this fire to achieve forest health and fuels reduction objectives which means we will not actively suppress the fire at this time. However, for the duration of this event, we will closely monitor the fire and frequently reassess our strategy. Because this site is fairly high elevation and wet, and because we have crews and resources immediately available should we need to take a more aggressive approach and suppress the fire, we have chosen this management option.”  He went on to explain, “Safety of the public and firefighters is our primary concern on any wildland fire incident. Fire fighting is a hazardous job and we always try to limit fire fighter exposure to hazards. Given the remote location of this fire, moisture we’ve received this spring and summer, and our land management objectives, we don’t believe full suppression is warranted at this time”

The Milk Creek Fire is located south of private land in-holdings within the boundary of theWhite RiverNational Forest. The threat to private lands from this fire is low; however, as a contingency, fire crews have provided structure protection measures as well as numerous other protection measures in their planning.

In the coming weeks people will occasionally see smoke as the fire consumes downed woody material and standing trees.  There could also be days when the fire consumes several acres and puts up a lot of smoke. Again, because this fire and available fuels are surrounded by large aspen stands, we do not expect significant growth and the risk to private property and public safety is low.


The 14th Judicial District Attorney’s office has decided to ask a Grand Jury whether or not they should file charges against the man accused of running down several family members after the fireworks show in Grand County last week.  If charges should be filed, they’ll ask the Grand Jury what charges they should file.  33-year old Lucas Ackerman was arrested on suspicion of DUI, vehicular homicide, and other charges shortly after the incident.  Authorities say he plowed into a family of ten with his vehicle, killing the father, 50-year old Greg Westley, and sending 4 others, including the 49-year old mother, Debbie Westley to Denver area hospitals with serious injuries.



Visitors to Dinosaur National Monument are being reminded that the Jones Hole Trail and surrounding National Park Service lands from the fish hatchery boundary to Ely Creek remain closed to all public use due to an active rock slide.  A geomorphologist plans to be in the monument towards the end of next week. He will visit the slide area and look at the cliff face, especially those areas around the cracks, to try to determine the potential for more slides in the immediate future.  The first reported rock slide occurred June 18th. A large slab of rock broke free from a cliff face less than ¼ mile from the Jones Hole Fish Hatchery. After receiving reports, park rangers checked the scene and did not see any further activity.  On the morning of June 20th, another small slide occurred. Then later that day, a much larger slab of rock broke free and tumbled to the stream below. A large debris field formed below the slide site. The slide was large enough to send large boulders, the size of a pickup truck, across Jones Hole Creek before coming to rest against trees by the hiking trail. No injuries were reported as a result of the slide.  Due to the potential for more falling rock, the area remains closed until further notice.  If necessary, National Park Service Rangers will issue citations to persons violating the terms of the closure.



Beginning this week the City of Steamboat will resume work to create a paved public access to the skateboard and bike jump parks at Bear River Park on Lagoon Road in the west end of Steamboat. There will be intermittent closures followed by a full closure of the access road through the first part of August.  Centurylink has already started work to relocate utilities at the corner of US Highway 40 and Lagoon Road to accommodate the project. City personnel will be completing final utility work prior to preparation for a new 8-ft concrete sidewalk and paved two-lane roadway. Asphalt pavement installation is scheduled for early August.  Bear River Park users are asked to use the City’s core trail for access to the skateboard and bike jump parks.



Online registration is now open for the Northwest Colorado Rural Philanthropy Days (RPD) conference slated for September 25th through the 27th at Winter Park Resort. The Northwest region for RPD represents five counties: Grand, Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Routt. Event organizers are hoping to expand the turnout this year.  This year’s theme for RPD is “Making Tracks; Connecting past and building a future,” and will include: providing valuable trainings for staff and directors; forums with Front Range funders and government representatives about the region’s achievements and challenges; informal networking for face time with funders; capacity building workshops; inspiring speakers; and a new youth track. Registration includes three days of meals, including a BBQ dinner at the Fraser Valley Sports Complex. To learn more, view a complete event agenda and register online, click here.



The Secretary of State’s Office has given the green light for a recall election against Democratic Senator Angela Giron of Pueblo.  Deputy Secretary Suzanne Staiert issued a ruling yesterday that said wording on the petitions was sufficient for circulating the petitions.  The ruling mirrors the decision made on the recall election of Senate President John Morse last week.  Morse is appealing that decision, but chances are both elections will go forward.  The recalls are based primarily on the two lawmakers’ push for gun control during the last legislative session.



Colorado has one of the nation’s lowest obesity rates, but more than half its residents are overweight or obese.  This week Governor John Hickenlooper is announcing a statewide challenge using online tools, giveaways and community support to encourage Coloradans to be more active.  The Get Movin’ challenge by the nonprofit organization LiveWell Colorado will have residents go online to log their daily physical activity in August.  Participants who log 30 days of activity in that time, with an average of at least 30 minutes daily, will get a free shirt.  Those logging 15-29 days of activity, averaging at least 30 minutes daily, will get a hat.  Other prizes, such as ski passes are also available.  Registration opens tomorrow.



The director of the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division is retiring.  The decision by Laura Harris comes at a time when the division is taking on the task of regulating the state’s new recreational marijuana industry.  Harris declined to comment or give a reason for her decision.  Harris was put in charge of regulating hundreds of medical-marijuana dispensaries and other businesses in 2011.  The division was named the Marijuana Enforcement Division this year to reflect its expanded role overseeing all marijuana businesses, which voters approved in November.


The Agenda for tomorrow nights (7/11) TMH board meeting is available below.  The meeting begins at 6pm in The Memorial Hospital at Craig meeting room.


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