Campfire Concerns Spark Alarm Among Forest Officials
Unattended or abandoned campfires were discovered and extinguished in the Lake County area as well as across the region as reported by the regional Pueblo Inter-agency Dispatch Center. Careless human acts have caused nearly half of the wildfires on the Pike & San Isabel National Forests, Cimarron & Comanche National Grasslands (PSICC) in the last ten years. This figure is well above the average for the western states.
“It is so important now, more than ever for the public to understand the importance of such a simple task of extinguishing their campfire,” said Ralph Bellah, PSICC Fire Prevention Officer. “Simply because there is green vegetation out there doesn’t mean we are immune to wildfires.” Thinking ahead and ensuring your campfire is cold to the touch before you leave can prevent a wildfire. A campfire can stay hot enough to emit embers outside the ring for many hours if it’s left to go out naturally.
Unsafe campfires have caused large fires that threaten communities, cause evacuations, and add to the workload and risk of our firefighting force. “We are concerned about the number of abandoned campfires that have been found by forest patrols,” said Bellah.
And Lake County is no different, as reported on the Lake County Office of Emergency Management Facebook Page, which reported on June 10 that several un-extinguished campfires were discovered in the area. They remind residents and visitors:
Fire season is arriving quickly, and it is important that everyone be cautious with matches, fire works, and other items that could cause a forest fire. Already we are seeing fires in the woods. Please don’t start a forest fire. When it is hot and dry fires burn quickly.
Cooper Yurt: Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace
The Leadville Ranger District of the Pike and San Isabel National Forest is accepting comments on a proposal to install a 30’ diameter Yurt structure on a 45’ x 45’ wood deck at Ski Cooper near the top terminal of the 10th Mountain Double Chairlift, located in Eagle County, Colorado. The specific location is the NE ¼, SW1/4, Sec. 13, T8S, R80W.
Ski Cooper straddles the Continental Divide, with the portion to the south of the divide within the San Isabel National Forest, and the portion to the north of the divide within the White River National Forest. The proposed Top Mountain Yurt would be located on the White River NF side of the divide. The Pike and San Isabel National Forests, Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands (PSICC) administers the Winter Recreation Resort special use permit that covers the entire Ski Cooper operation, and will be taking the lead on this project.
This facility would provide seating and limited food and beverage services to augment those of the Cooper Base Lodge facilities, which are overburdened on busier days. The existing restroom facilities at the site would be adjacent to the proposed Yurt and would be available for patron’s use. Potable water would be hauled from the base area to the Yurt and stored for use by staff and guests. Transportation of supplies and water for operating the Yurt during the ski season would be facilitated by Cooper’s specially designed food and beverage service snow cat which was acquired from the owner of Breckenridge’s Peak-9 Restaurant operation.
During the late summer of 2016 a 45’x 45’ wood deck supported by 40 steel pyramidal piers resting on concrete paver blocks set directly on the ground would be constructed. A 30’ diameter wood framed, canvas covered Yurt would be installed on top of the deck. The site is a previously disturbed area that includes a vault toilet building. A backhoe would be used to bury approximately 225 feet of electric cables from an existing power line to bring electric service to the Yurt. No trees would be removed, and the only ground disturbance would be the trench for the electric line. A vicinity map and a site map are available online at: www.fs.fed.us/nepa/nepa_project_exp.php?project=49456
The Forest Service will use comments received to identify any concerns about the proposed activities and to conduct the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis. The project is consistent with categorical exclusion 36 CFR 220.6(e)(3) Approval, modification, or continuation of minor specials uses of NFS lands that require less than five acres of land, which will be documented in a Decision Memo. It is expected there would not be any significant individual or cumulative effects to resources from the proposed activities. The Decision Memo will not be subject to administrative appeal.
The President’s council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) implementing regulations at 40 CFR 1503.1 (a)(4) require that agencies request comments from the public. This opportunity to comment provides the public an opportunity to provide meaningful input prior to the decision on projects and activities related to implementing land and resource management plans.
Please be as specific as possible in expressing your comments so they can be effectively addressed. Comments received, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public record for this project, and will be available for public inspection. Comments may be submitted by email in word (.doc), rich text format (.rtf), text (.txt), or portable document format (.pdf) to email@example.com. Alternatively, written comments may be submitted to: Leadville Ranger District, Attn: Michelle Mueggler, 810 Front Street, Leadville, CO 80461.
The comment period ends June 27, 2016.
For more information contact Michelle Mueggler at (719) 486-0749 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for caring about your National Forest!