NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, JULY 3RD

EXPLOSION IN CRAIG THIS MORNING

No one was hurt in an explosion this morning at Herrod Industries at 12th and Rose, in Craig. According to Craig Fire Chief Bill Johnston, a man was having trouble disconnecting a tanker trailer from his tractor truck around 7:45 this morning.  He reportedly was using a cutting torch to separate the two, when vapors from the tanker’s contents ignited.  The tanker contained condensate from an oil well site, which included flammable organic chemicals. When the tanker exploded it sent debris flying up to 50 yards. Due to its design, safety hatches on the tanker blew out, preventing the entire tank from exploding.  One of the blown hatches went through the roof of the building creating a large gash in the structure.  The only residual effect on those near the explosion was ringing in the ears, which was diminishing.  The Craig building inspector was called in to assess the damage, and determined that the building was structurally sound and deemed it safe for occupancy. Firefighters declared the situation under control in less than an hour.  Pictured: The tanker trailer and damage to Herrod Industries building.  Click on photo to enlarge.

 

GERMAN MAN DIES IN STEAMBOAT MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT

An unidentified man from Germany died in an accident on West Lincoln Avenue in Steamboat yesterday. The victim was one of a group of motorcyclists from Germany that were touring the United States. Another member of the group was also involved in the accident, but was not thought to be seriously injured. The initial investigation indicates that the accident occurred when an SUV crossed the center line of the road and struck the two cyclists. The driver of the SUV, whose identity has not been released, indicated that a medical condition may have contributed to loss of control of the vehicle. A portion of Lincoln Avenue was closed briefly to clear up the wreckage.

 

HAYDEN POLICE CHIEF ON ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE

Hayden Police Chief Gordon Booco remains on paid administrative leave for what Hayden Town Manager David Torgler calls a personnel issue. Torgler said he was not releasing any additional information about why Booco was relieved of his duties on June 24th, and called Booco’s leave “indefinite”.  Pictured: Gordon Booco

 

FIRE RESTRICTIONS ENACTED ACROSS NORTHWEST COLORADO

Fire restrictions were enacted over a large portion of Northwest Colorado yesterday.  Moffat and Routt Counties and the City of Steamboat all implemented Stage 1 restrictions yesterday.  The restrictions deal with open fires, which includes agricultural and trash burning, and campfires.  Fire conditions are high in most areas of Northwest Colorado, and fire managers are trying to prevent any man-made wildfires over the 4th of July holiday and beyond.  Fire restrictions were also enacted on local BLM and forest land yesterday.  Details about what activities are restricted can be found below.

STAGE ONE RESTRICTIONS:

The following acts are prohibited on all private and state owned lands outside of
municipal boundaries. This does not affect federal lands within Routt County.

  1. Building, maintaining, attending or using any fire to burn trash, debris, fence rows, irrigation ditches or vegetation, any campfire, warming fire, charcoal grill, except in designated campgrounds, picnic areas or developed recreational sites.
  2. Smoking; except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed
    recreational site, or while stopped in an area of at least (3) feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.
  3. Operating a chainsaw without a USDA or SAE approved spark arresting device (muffler) properly installed and in effective working order, and a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher of not less than eight (8) ounce capacity by weight, and one (1) round pointed shovel with an overall length of at least 36 inches. The extinguisher will be with the chainsaw operator. The shovel may be kept with the fueling supplies but readily available for quick use.
  4. Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame; except within an area that is barren or cleared of all flammable material at least 10 feet on all sides from the equipment.

5. Using explosives requiring fuses or blasting caps.

Exemptions from Stage One Restrictions:

  1. Persons with a valid written permit which specifically authorizes the
    prohibited act: (a) from the fire protection district chief if subject land is within a fire protection district; (b) or Routt County Emergency Manager after consultation with the Routt County Sheriff if subject land is not within a fire protection district.
  2. Any federal, state or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an actual duty.
    1. Any fires contained within stoves, fireplaces within buildings, charcoal grill fires, recreational fires at private residences with valid permit from district chief, and permanent fire pits or fire grates in developed picnic grounds and camp grounds.
    2. Burning of irrigation ditches located within and completely surrounded by irrigated farm lands where such burning is necessary for crop survival with proper permit from: (a) fire protection district chief if subject land is within  fire protection district; (b) or Routt County Emergency Manager after consultation with the Routt County Sheriff if subject land is not within a fire protection district.
    3. Hot air balloon activities and the use of UL approved liquid-fueled or gas fueled “CampFire in aCan.”   Campfires or bonfires required in religious ceremonies where a specific written permit has been granted in advance by: (a) the fire protection district chief if subject land is within a fire protection district; or (b) the Routt County Emergency Manager after consultation with the Routt County Sheriff if subject land is not within a fire protection district.

AREA FIREWORKS DISPLAYS SET FOR 4TH OF JULY

Fireworks displays are scheduled for several areas in Northwest Colorado and Southwest Wyoming tomorrow night.  Craig’s display will go off from Moffat County High School.  Steamboat’s will be at Howelson Hill.  Meeker’s display will happen at City Park.  Rangely’s will go off at Kennedy Reservoir.  In Yampa, the fireworks will be set off behind the fire station.  There will also be a display at the Dixon Arena.  All shows are expected to go off at around 9:30 tomorrow night.

VFW PLANS MEMORIAL DEDICATION TOMORROW

Rio Blanco County’s chapters of the VFW and the Ladies Auxiliary will dedicate the Rio Blanco County Veterans Memorial during a ceremony tomorrow. The monument was sculpted by John Kobald, a local artist, and is one of the first monuments depicting a modern day infantry soldier honoring all men and women who have served in the U.S. military. The dedication will take place immediately following the Range Call Parade in Meeker tomorrow morning at 10 on the lawn in front of the County Courthouse at 6th and Main.  Fireworks displays are still a go in all three counties at this time.  All displays will start around 9:30.

 

STEAMBOAT LOOKS FOR PUBLIC INPUT ON EMERALD MOUNTAIN PLAN

Steamboat’s Parks, Open Space & Recreation Department launched a master planning effort in May for Emerald Mountain Park, a 586-acre property acquired by the City in March of 2011, and is asking the public for input. The Park connects Bureau of Land Management and Colorado Parks and Wildlife lands with City Open Space lands. It is covered by a conservation easement with the Yampa Valley Land Trust which guarantees public access and requires preservation and protection of the property’s ecological values while allowing for appropriate passive recreational use.  Public outreach and communication about the project will occur through public meetings, and an interactive web-based “MindMixer” which can be accessed at any time online. The site is now live and able to accept comments.

 

EPA SETTLES WITH UTAH POWER PLANT

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a Clean Air Act settlement with Utah-based Deseret Generation & Transmission Co-operative, resolving alleged violations at the Bonanza Power Plant on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation near Vernal. According to a complaint filed with the settlement, Deseret allegedly violated provisions of the New Source Performance Standards under the Clean Air Act by emitting excess particulate pollution at the Bonanza plant.  The agreement requires Deseret to pay $35,000 in penalties and implement new procedures for controlling particulate emissions during startup and shutdown of the coal-fired boiler at Bonanza. Deseret will also finance a $260,000 vehicle replacement program to replace at least five fleet vehicles in the area to use natural gas.

 

GOVERNORS PONDER REGIONAL FIREFIGHTING FLEET

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper says there are initial talks with western governors about sharing a regional aerial fleet to fight fires.  The governor spoke briefly about the discussions yesterday during a news conference, in which he urged Colorado residents to be aware of the fire danger this Fourth of July holiday and advised homeowners living in high-risk areas to work on mitigation around their properties.  Hickenlooper said yesterday residents should check with their local governments to know what burning restrictions are in place. Currently, there’s no statewide ban in place.  Hickenlooper emphasized the idea of a regional aerial fleet is preliminary. It came up during the Western Governors’ Association meeting last week in Utah.  Colorado lawmakers this year passed a bill for a state firefighting fleet but didn’t budget funds for it.

 

MORSE SUPPORTERS HARASSING RECALL SUPPORTERS

Colorado Springs residents who signed a petition to recall a Democratic leader because of his support for stricter gun laws claim they are being harassed by his supporters.  About a dozen people say they’ve gotten calls urging them to remove their names from the recall petition.  Gun rights advocates are trying to recall Democratic Senate President John Morse.  They collected more than 10,000 signatures to do so, but an election has not been set yet as Morse attorneys challenge the validity of the recall effort.  Christy Le Lait leads the group opposing the recall. She says the workers with “A Whole Lot of People for John Morse” ask people if they want their names removed from the petition only if they didn’t know what they signed.

 

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