News briefs for Sept. 13

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Former Craig man dies Saturday in car accident

A former Moffat County man died Saturday when his all-terrain vehicle was hit by a pickup on Colorado Highway 330 near Collbran.

Donald Dale Smith, 61, of Mesa died from injuries suffered in the accident, which occurred at about 7:15 a.m. Saturday, according to the Colorado State Patrol.

Smith was traveling in the eastbound lane when he was rear-ended by a truck driven by a 16-year-old from Parachute.

The 16-year-old was issued a summons on suspicion of careless driving resulting in death and was released to his parents, according to the State Patrol.

The crash is under investigation.

Smith lived in Maybell in the 1970s and 1980s and later lived in Craig.


Fire danger in area high to very high

Periodic rainfall across Northwest Colorado decreased drought conditions.

The additional moisture resulted in an abundance of grasses, or fine fuels, and sparked concern for a potentially active fire season.

Despite summer rain, warmer-than-typical temperatures and low relative humidity, plants returned to a dry state quickly, and drought effects were eased only minimally in timber.

Now, with grasses cured and frost kill on some brush and other plants, the fall fire season is upon us.

Fire danger ranges from high in Routt, Jackson and Grand counties to very high in Rio Blanco and Moffat counties.

There are no fire restrictions in place in the northwest corner of the state, with the exception of Dinosaur National Monument.

No open fires are allowed in Echo Park and Jones Hole campgrounds, and campers can use propane stoves only. Fall recreationists can help keep fire starts in check by remembering to be careful with fires.

Being fire safe isn't restricted to camping and recreating. Cleaning and removing dead weeds and vegetation around homes also is advisable. Mowing the abnormally dense and high grasses and weeds will help lower the spread and potential for a large fire.

  • Make sure all campfires are put out with water and dirt before leaving camping areas
  • Clear brush to bare soil at in least a 12-foot diameter around campfires
  • Keep campfires small
  • It's illegal to leave campfires unattended. A small breeze quickly could turn a campfire into a wildfire
  • Smoke in cleared areas and don't dispose of cigarettes and matches until they are cold and out
  • Park out of tall grass -- hot exhaust systems can ignite dry vegetation

For more information, visit local public land management offices, county sheriff departments or local fire departments. Be smart with fire this fall.

No injuries reported

on school bus accident

Neither the driver nor two female student passengers were injured when a Hayden Valley School District bus went off the right side of the road near Elkhead Reservoir on Moffat County Road 28.

Road conditions were wet and muddy at the time of the accident, at 7:10 a.m. Friday, according to a press release from the Colorado State Patrol.

The bus slid down an embankment and landed on its wheels about 50 feet from the roadway, the State Patrol reported.

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