A small fire started in a remote area north of Hayden last night. It was in the Sugar Loaf Bears Ears area, about two miles from Routt County Road 80. Craig Dispatch sent a helicopter out, with help from West Routt Fire and other state firefighters. It was only about an acre, and they got it out, and then kept an eye out for spot fires on the perimeter. Mo Demorat with the Routt County Office of Emergency Management wants to remind everyone, especially hunters, that no campfires are allowed.
Both Routt and Moffat Counties are in Stage Two Fire Restrictions.
There are no new cases of COVID-19 in Moffat County this week. The county has had 34 positive cases since testing began in March. Because of those low numbers, Moffat County Public Health is applying for the Protect Your Neighbor phase of recovery with the state of Colorado. Moffat County Public Health Director Kari Ladrow says it is good news.
If Moffat County moves into the Protect Your Neighbors phase, it means the county will be allowed to return to activities at 50 percent of pre-pandemic capacity with at least six feet between non-household members and no more than 500 people in one place at any time. Moffat County Board of Health is expecting to hear back from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in 10 to 14 days.
The Moffat County Sheriff’s Office says United States Marshals have arrested Rick Barnes of Craig. He was arrested in Oklahoma Tuesday morning after more than a month on the run. Sheriff’s Office investigators have been working with the U.S. Marshals since an arrest warrant was issued last month, and that’s what led to the arrest of Barnes. He is facing 20-25 years in prison after a plea deal on felony charges of sexual assault, and sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust. Barnes has a court date scheduled for Sept. 16 and then again in mid-October. Barnes will be sent back to Moffat County very soon.
Today is the first day of school for kids in the Moffat County School District. The district is asking that parents do a daily health screening and not send kids to school if they are feeling sick or have a fever of 100.4 or greater. That’s for staff as well. Staff will be wearing a mask all day. Kids in grades 6-12 are also required to wear a mask. Schools in Moffat County have been out for over five months, because of COVID-19. It’s the first time students have been in school in 167 days.
Six people have been arrested just north of Rifle after nearly 16,000 marijuana plants were discovered. The plants were illegally grown and worth more than $7.5 million dollars. The Post Independent reports that the marijuana was discovered on both private and public land northwest of Rifle Gap Reservoir. The six Hispanic males who were arrested will face charges of manufacturing with intent to distribute, and possibly other charges. The Drug Enforcement Agent in charge says the marijuana would have been sold on the black market and money generated would have gone to drug cartels in Mexico.
Water users along the main stretch of the Yampa have to stop using the water right now. Colorado Division of Water Resources have put both the Yampa and Bear Rivers on call. It’s the second time it’s ever been done. The downstream users near Dinosaur National Monument aren’t getting enough water so the users upstream have to limit what they’re using. It’s because of the current drought conditions.
A bear got stuck in a waterline and culvert at Priest Creek Ranch. Ryan Scott and his wife Cregan Ortner manage the ranch. They heard a noise coming from the manhole in front of their house.
They looked and that’s when they saw the big bear, deep in the hole, looking up at them.
They decided to call Colorado Parks and Wildlife who came right out. The bear was tranquilized and then an officer crawled down into the tube to put straps around the bear. A big tractor lifted the bear out to safety. Parks & Wildlife loaded it up and took it away to relocate it. The video is on our website and Facebook page. You’ve got to see this one.
Folks from all over Western Colorado showed up at the old Brown’s Park Schoolhouse Saturday for Wild Bunch Day. The schoolhouse was moved to its current location from Beaver Creek in 1945. Then the old schoolhouse in Sunbeam was attached in 1964. Ellen Simpson still lives in Brown’s Park. She went to the old schoolhouse until 7th grade. She says it was more than just a schoolhouse.
Money was raised Saturday to keep the old Brown’s Park Schoolhouse running. It continues to host Christmas parties and other functions. Many former students who attended the old school were also there.
The western two-thirds of Moffat County is under a Red Flag Warning from the National Weather Service through Sunday. Critical fire weather conditions and strong winds are expected this weekend. No open fires or outdoor burning as Stage 2 Fire Restrictions are in effect for Moffat and Routt counties.
Moffat County Public Health is reporting one new case of COVID-19 in the county. A man in his 50s has tested positive. The total number of cases in Moffat County is 33. No COVID-positive patients are currently hospitalized.
The Moffat County Board of Public Health meets today. County Commissioner Don Cook says the high count of COVID-19 that was three weeks ago was from seven people in the same family. He says other cases are from Moffat County residents who are working in Routt County so public health officials know where those cases are coming from.
The public health meeting is at 9 a.m. today in the Commissioners Room at the Moffat County Courthouse.