RED CANYON FIRE, DAY 3
THE WINDS HAVE CALMED DOWN BUT THE RED CANYON FIRE HAS NOT. THE BLAZE, WHICH STARTED MONDAY HAS NOW BURNED OVER 350 ACRES AND IS 10 PERCENT CONTAINED. AT 6 O’CLOCK THIS MORNING, THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN INCIDENT MANAGEMENT TEAM OFFICIALLY TOOK COMMAND. LATE YESTERDAY AFTERNOON, GUSTY WINDS CAME ALONG AND PUSHED THE FIRE TOWARD LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN WHERE AT LEAST 15 HOMES WERE EVACUATED BY REVERSE 9-1-1 CALLS AND GARFIELD COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPUTIES GOING DOOR TO DOOR. NO HOMES OR OTHER STRUCTURES HAVE BEEN DAMAGED BUT OFFICIALS WITH THE CARBONDALE AND RURAL FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT SAY ABOUT 20 HOMES ARE IN THE FIRE’S PATH AND ARE THREATENED. THE RED CROSS HAS SET UP AN EVACUATION CENTER AT ROARING FORK HIGH SCHOOL IN CARBONDALE. CONSIDERING THE LIMITATIONS ON RESOURCES AND MANPOWER, LOCAL FIREFIGHTING EFFORTS HAVE BEEN SOLID IN PROTECTING PROPERTY AND PEOPLE WITH SOME 60 MEN AND WOMEN ON THE GROUND AND PILOTS IN THREE PLANES DROPPING SLURRY ON THE FIRE. ABOUT 150 ADDITIONAL FIREFIGHTERS ARRIVED LAST NIGHT TO HELP BUILD CONTAINMENT LINES AND PREVENT IT FROM MOVING CLOSER TO GLENWOOD SPRINGS. THE FIRE IS BURNING IN STEEP TERRAIN THAT’S FILLED WITH THICK GROVES OF DRIED OUT PINYON AND JUNIPER TREES. PEOPLE WITH RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS OR HEALTH CONCERNS SHOULD AVOID GOING OUTDOORS AS THE SMOKE IS EXPECTED TO BE THICK.
COLORADO BRIDGE FUND WORKING
DENVER (AP) – A fee on Colorado vehicle registrations is allowing the state to step up repairs for dangerous bridges across the state. The Colorado Department of Transportation said Tuesday that the state has replaced 53 bridges, while another 22 are under construction and 33 are in the design phase as of the end of July.
The additional funds come from a program called FASTER, which stands for Funding Advancement for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery.
In 2009 state lawmakers approved the Colorado Bridge Enterprise, which provides about $100 million a year for bridge repair and replacement.
HICKENLOOPER TOURS SOUTHERN COLORADO, SEEKING 2ND TERM
TRININDAD (AP) – Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is touring southern Colorado as his re-election campaign kicks off and he’s spending time defending controversial decisions from the last year. Hickenlooper spent most of his prepared remarks in Trinidad Wednesday morning on his decision to indefinitely delay the execution of convicted killer Nathan Dunlap, a proposed tax increase for schools, and an expansion of background checks for gun purchases. Hickenlooper says Dunlap was “severely bipolar,” that background checks catch violent offenders, and that the tax increase is attached to a set of school reforms. Hickenlooper is touring the Eastern Plains and southern Colorado this week. His office says the visits are not related to his re-election campaign. But the stops offer the governor valuable face time with voters in rural communities.