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Officers respond to numerous reports of domestic violence: On the Record — Sept. 14 through 16

Craig Police Department

Friday, Sept. 14

12:32 a.m. In Craig, officers from the Craig Police Department investigated a possible domestic violence case.

3:21 a.m. Near The Memorial Hospital, officers responded to reports of a disturbance,

3:29 a.m. On the 900 block of Sloan Circle, officers investigated reports of a suspicious person.

10:39 a.m. At the Public Safety Center, officers took a report of suspected domestic violence.

10:49 a.m. In Craig, officers responded to a Safe2Tell notification.

12:37 p.m. On the 800 block of East Seventh Street, officers responded to reports of a suspicious person, article, or vehicle.

3:29 p.m. In Craig, officers continued investigating reports of a person who was missing or had run away.

4:37 p.m. On the 800 block of West First Street, officers took a report of a theft.

6:35 p.m. In Craig, officers investigated a report of possible verbal domestic violence.

6:43 p.m. In Craig, officers investigated a report of possible domestic violence.    

8:25 p.m. On Ledford Street, officers responded to a crash resulting in injury.

Saturday, Sept. 15

5:13 a.m. Near Cramer Flooring, officers made contact with a pedestrian.  

7:12 a.m. In Craig, officers investigated a report of possible domestic violence.

9:58 a.m. On the 600 block of Westridge Road, officers investigated a report of a suspicious person, vehicle, or article.

12:34 p.m. On the 3800 block of West Sixth Street, officers investigated a report of a threat.

12:53 p.m. At Northwest Pawnshop, officers investigated a possible weapons violation.

12:54 p.m. On the 600 block of Wickes Avenue, officers responded to reports of a disturbance.

2:15 p.m. On the 900 block of West First Street, officers investigated a possible assault.

4:07 p.m. On the 1600 block of Yampa Avenue, officers responded to reports of a disturbance.

7:05 p.m. On the 300 block of Cedar Court, officers investigated an incident involving wildlife.

7:13 p.m. On the 700 block of Rose Street, officers investigated reports of a threat.

8:15 p.m. On the 1000 block of East Seventh Street, officers responded to a report of a disturbance.

8:53 p.m. In Craig, officers investigated a report of possible child abuse or neglect.

11:22 p.m. In Craig, officers investigated a report of possible domestic violence.  

Sunday, Sept. 16

12:05 a.m. In Craig, officers investigated a report of possible domestic violence.

6:17 a.m. At Frontier Apartments, officers responded to reports of harassment.  

12:07 p.m. At OP Bar and Grill, officers investigated an alleged theft.

1:27 p.m. In Craig, officers responded to a Safe2Tell notification.

2:34 p.m. At the Popular Bar, officers responded to a report of lost property.

7:57 p.m. On First Street, officers investigated an incident involving wildlife.

8:50 p.m. Near the intersection of Victory Way and Ranney Street, officers responded to reports of roadkill.

11:35 p.m. At East Kum & Go, officers investigated a suspicious vehicle.

Crews battle 4 wildfires across Northwest Colorado, including fire near Wyoming border

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A seemingly constant drone of helicopters fighting wildfires hummed over the Yampa Valley this weekend.

Crews are now fighting four fires in Northwest Colorado. For fire and closure information, visit inciweb.com.

Ryan Fire

The Ryan Fire was first reported Saturday night, and is burning in more than 500 acres of live and beetle-killed lodgepole pine, said Routt National Forest spokesperson Aaron Voos.

The fire is originated in the northern tip of the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area, but is growing rapidly and moving toward the Wyoming border. It has passed U.S. Forest Service Road 80, which runs parallel to the border and less than a mile from the state line.

Fire staff and law enforcement are working to evacuate game management unit 161, which includes hunters and campers along the entirety of Forest Service Road 80 in Colorado.

In Wyoming, elk area 13 and deer area 81 are being evacuated. This includes the Hog Park area and the area south of Forest Road 496 from its intersection with Forest Road 550 east and north to its intersection with Forest Roads 409 and 404.

No homes have been evacuated. The fire does is not immediately threatening structures.

The fire is growing quickly. Helicopters fighting the Ryan Fire were grounded Sunday afternoon in light of high winds.

“The winds are high enough that they haven't been able to fly aerial resources,” Voos said. “Ground crews aren’t very effective with a rapidly moving fire in fuels like this. Even though we would like to, we're not able to suppress the fire at this point, so right now what we're doing is focusing on evacuations.”

The Rocky Mountain Black Type 2 Incident Command team will soon take over incident command of the fire, Voos said.

“That says a lot, for a fire that was just reported last night,” he said.

The fire was initially called the Nih Fire. It is burning about 6 miles from the Routt and Jackson County border.

Silver Creek Fire

The Silver Creek Fire was burning in 11,405 acres and 35 percent contained Sunday. This is about 800 acres larger than the area reported Saturday and the same containment level.

U.S. Highway 40 remained open Sunday. Colorado Highway 134 is closed from mile marker 17 to 27.

“I believe that things are looking better today than they have been as far as the possibility of a highway closure,” Voos said. He added that fire activity — and smoke produced by the fire — decreased Sunday.

Latigo Guest Ranch, the Yost Ranch and homes in the Gore Lakes and Old Park area have been evacuated. The Milk Creek State Wildlife Area has also been evacuated to get hunters out of the fire’s projected path.

Pre-evacuation notices have been issued for Rabbit Ears Village, Bear Mountain and the Lake Agnes area.

Protecting structures in the areas evacuated was a priority for firefighters Sunday. A group working to protect structures was strategizing where to place sprinkler systems in the Lake Agnes and Latigo Ranch area. Firefighters were patrolling Latigo Ranch, the 100 Road and the U.S. 40 corridor from Tyler Mountain to Rabbit Ears Village.

Grand County residents were encouraged to enroll with the county’s emergency alert system, so emergency managers could reach them quickly if evacuations become necessary.

Two hundred seventy-five firefighters battled the fire where it is safe to do so Sunday. The fire had priority for air support in the region. Two helicopters that can carry up to 700 gallons of water and fire suppressant and two helicopters that carry up to 100 gallons are supporting firefighters on the ground. Three air tankers also are available for use as appropriate.

According to Inciweb, the fire burned on the interior of the perimeter Saturday, with fire activity slowly backing northwest into the Sarvis Creek Wilderness Area.

Firefighters worked to clear grasses, brush and timber that could fuel flames along U.S. Forest Service Road 100, known as Buffalo Park Road. Bulldozers and two Hotshot crews created fire line in the area of the Muddy Creek Drainage.

Grand County graders worked Sunday to open up old roads west of the Albert Reservoir. Firefighters are also connecting meadows and already burned and blackened forest areas to create additional fire lines near the Red Dirt Reservoir to protect private property.

For more information on the fire and associated closures, contact the fire information line from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 307-840-9810.

Boone Draw and Three Wash fires

The Boone Draw Fire, the larger of two fires burning in western Moffat County, was reported at 8,683 acres and 40 percent containment Sunday.

The fire is burning sagebrush, grass, pinyon and juniper on private and Bureau of Land Management land north of Colorado Highway 318. The fire has closed Moffat County roads 46, 67 and 52. Colo. 318 remains open.

The fire is burning in the southwest portion of the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horse Herd Management Area. People can still view horses by accessing the basin to the north using Moffat County Road 75.

The fire threatens wild horse and greater sage grouse habitat and cultural resources.

Crews burnt out the southwestern flank of the fire Saturday, and they worked to contain the fire’s northeastern flank by clearing heavy vegetation along the fire’s edge.

The Three Wash Fire was last reported at 368 acres on Saturday.

 

To reach Eleanor Hasenbeck, call 970-871-4210, email ehasenbeck@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter@elHasenbeck.

New fire sparks in Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area

JACKSON COUNTY — A new wildfire is blazing in the extreme northern tip of the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area in northwest Jackson County.

The Ryan Fire was first reported last night and is burning in about 500 acres of live and beetle-killed lodgepole pine. The fire is growing rapidly and moving toward the Wyoming border.

The U.S. Forest Service is evacuating hunters and campers in the area of Forest Service Road 80 in Colorado and south of Forest Road 496 in Wyoming.

Smoke from the fire is visible in North Routt County.

Smoke warning remains in place for Northwest Colorado

CRAIG  — An air quality advisory has been issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for the northwestern part of Moffat County from Sunday until the morning of Monday, Sept. 17.

Locations impacted by wildfire smoke include, but are not limited to Sunbeam, Greystone, and Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge.

“If smoke is thick or becomes thick in your neighborhood you may want to remain indoors. This is especially true for those with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young, and the elderly.  Consider limiting outdoor activity when moderate to heavy smoke is present. Consider relocating temporarily if smoke is present indoors and is making you ill. If visibility is less than five miles in smoke in your neighborhood, smoke has reached levels that are unhealthy,” states the warming. 

The Boone Draw and Three Wash Fires in northwestern Moffat County are expected to produce periods of moderate to heavy smoke through Monday morning.  By Sunday afternoon, high winds and dry conditions will likely lead to active fire conditions.  Smoke from the fires will generally move to the northeast.  Late Sunday night and early Monday morning, periods of moderate to heavy smoke can once again be expected for locations along and near Highway 318 to the west of Sunbeam.

For the latest Smoke Outlook, visit:
http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/addendum.aspx#smoke

For more information about smoke and your health, visit:
http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/wildfire.aspx

For the latest Colorado statewide air quality conditions, forecasts, and advisories visit:
http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/colorado_summary.aspx

U.S. Highway 40 remains in limbo as Silver Creek Fire grows

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Silver Creek Fire burning southeast of Steamboat Springs remained menacing Saturday.

Between Wednesday and Saturday, the fire had more than doubled in size from a steady 5,008 acres to 10,559 acres, according to Saturday evening updates.

Containment is listed at 35 percent. Before the fire blew up, it was 76 percent contained.

According to cotrip.org, Colorado Highway 134 has been closed from mile marker 17 to 27, and U.S. Highway 40 remains in limbo.

“The fire isn’t going to close it,” said Clark resident Chuck Vale, who works for the Colorado Division of Emergency Management. “The smoke is going to close it. I think we’re OK.”

There are currently 275 people working on the lightning-caused fire.

Latigo Guest Ranch, the Yost Ranch, Gore Lakes and Old Park have been evacuated. Pre-evacuation notices have been issued for Rabbit Ears Village, Bear Mountain Ranch and the Lake Agnes area. Grand County issued an evacuation order for the Milk Creek State Wildlife Area.

The Rocky Mountain Incident Management Blue Team is now managing the fire. The team is lead by incident commander Michael Haydon.

The team is focusing efforts on preparing containment line to the northeast of the fire, which is the direction the wind has been going.

“This is the safest option with the highest probability of success,” the team stated in their Saturday report. “Personnel are actively engaging the fire where it is safe to do so and implementing a full suppression strategy.”

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.

Firefighters report progress against Boone Draw Fire in western Moffat County; blaze now exceeds 8,000 acres

SANDWASH BASIN — Firefighters on Saturday reported decreased activity in the Boone Draw Fire, which ignited in western Moffat County just before noon Thursday, Sept. 13, despite continued hot, dry, and windy weather.

According to a news release from the Bureau of Land Management Kremmling Field Office, firefighters were able to achieve 40-percent containment of the blaze, which has grown to an estimated 8,300 acres.

The fire is burning in pinyon-juniper, grass, and sage on Bureau of Land Management lands and private property in the southwestern corner of the Sandwash Basin Herd Management Area, about 50 miles west of Craig and north of Colorado Highway 318.

According to the BLM release, no structures or other infrastructure are currently threatened, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The growing blaze has prompted the closures of three county roads in the area — Moffat County roads 46, 52, and 67 — as well as the emergency, temporary closure of public lands in the vicinity of the fire. However, the BLM advises that visitors wishing to view the wild horses of the Sand Wash Basin can access the herd management area by way of Moffat County Road 72, along the Sevenmile Ridge area north of the fire.

For more information about the closure areas, visit InciWeb Incident Information System at inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6207.

Though Colorado Highway 318 remains open, InciWeb cautions the roadway could be impacted by temporary lane closures or other delays as required by fire behavior or suppression activities.

InciWeb further projects outlook for the fire remains "extreme" due to forecasts calling for continued hot, dry weather, with strong winds.

About 150 firefighters, including personnel from Moffat County, BLM, and other agencies, are currently working to suppress and fully contain the fire. In addition, other resources, including engines, hand crews, Type 1 and 3 helicopters, and single engine air tankers have also been assigned to the effort.

Three Wash Fire

Meanwhile, the Three Wash Fire — which was reported about the same time as the Boone Draw Fire — continues burning along Colo. 318 west of Maybell, but unlike its larger counterpart to the west.

As of 5 p.m. Saturday, the Three Wash Fire was still holding at 369 acres.

Moffat County and BLM-administered lands within the Little Snake Field Office remain under Stage 1 fire restrictions. For more information about the restrictions, visit the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office webpage.

Contact Jim Patterson at 970-875-1790 or jpatterson@CraigDailyPress.com.

Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit now managing Boone Draw Fire; BLM temporarily closes public lands in vicinity

MAYBELL — Fire officials with the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit are now managing the more-than 6,000 acre Boone Draw Fire, which is burning in pinyon-juniper, grass, and sage on Bureau of Land Management land about 50 miles northwest of Craig, according to a news release from NCFM.

The growing fire has prompted the closure of three county roads in the area, as well as the temporary closure of public lands in the vicinity of the fire.

The blaze, which was initially reported just before noon Thursday, is located north of Colorado Highway 318 and has encroached into the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horse Herd Management Area.

The NCFM news release stated the fire was about 5 percent contained as of 5 p.m. Friday, and the cause remains under investigation.

Spurred by hot, dry, windy conditions Thursday, the fire quickly grew to more than 6,000 acres during its first day. NCFM reports the blaze continued to grow throughout the day Friday, though at a slower rate than was observed the day before.

Firefighters are actively suppressing the fire on its east and west flanks, using Colo. 318 as an anchor point and working northward. As of Friday, some 100 Moffat County and BLM personnal had been assigned to the fire, and additional resources — including more than 10 Type-6 engines, four Type 2 hand crews, six single-engine air tankers, and two helicopters — had been requested and were continuing to arrive.

Moffat County Sheriff KC Hume reported early Friday afternoon that the fire had prompted closures on Moffat County roads 46, 67, and 52, but added that, contrary to rumor, Colorado Highway 318 remained open.

In addition to the road closures, the BLM Little Snake Field Office on Friday implemented an area closure on BLM public lands in the vicinity of the fire to protect the safety of both firefighters and the public. The closure affects public lands within the South Sand Wash Special Recreation Management Area and the Sand Wash Wild Horse Management Area.

According to a Friday news release from the BLM, "… public lands in Moffat County within the Boone Draw Fire area … are temporarily closed to all unauthorized entry, effective immediately and remaining in effect until the Boone Draw Fire is declared controlled or until this order is rescinded."

Specifically, the closure applies to all Moffat County public lands within an area north of Colo. 318, east of BLM roads 2040 and 2042, south of Moffat County Road 52, and west of Moffat County Road 67.

The affected lands are located primarily within Townships 8 and 9 North, Range 98 and 99 West.

Under the closure, prohibited acts include the following.

  • Going into or being upon public lands described in the order.
  • Being upon the public land road systems in the area described.
  • Any mode of travel on or off trails in the area described.

Meanwhile, the much smaller Three Wash Fire, which was also reported about noon Thursday, did not see the tremendous growth evidenced in its larger counterpart to the west. Burning in pinyon-juniper, grass, and sage northwest of Maybell, the Three Wash Fire was holding at about 369 acres.

County residents should expect elevated fire danger into the weekend as windy, dry conditions persist. The National Weather Service on Friday extended a fire watch for northwestern Colorado and northeastern Utah until 10 p.m. Saturday, reporting that fire danger remained high due to gusty winds and low humidity.

Contact Jim Patterson at 970-875-1790 or jpatterson@CraigDailyPress.com.

Fires force closures of Moffat County roads near Sand Wash Basin

MAYBELL — Friday dawned on another active fire day in northwestern Moffat County, as two wildfires that broke out late Thursday morning continued to burn northwest of Maybell in the vicinity of Colorado Highway 318, prompting the closure of three county roads in the area.

At 1 p.m. Friday, Moffat County Sheriff KC Hume reported the fires had prompted closures on Moffat County roads 46, 67, and 52, but added that, contrary to rumor, Colorado Highway 318 remained open.

According to scanner traffic, firefighters were monitoring the situation and preparing to start a fireline if the blaze turned back toward the roadway.

According to wildcad.net, Craig's Interagency Dispatch Center, as of Thursday afternoon, the Three Wash Fire had grown to 369 acres and was burning in pine juniper, grass, and brush northwest of Maybell on 318.

Meanwhile, the much larger Boone Draw Fire — which wildcad.net reported at 5,994 acres as of 11:45 p.m. Thursday — was burning in pine juniper, grass, and brush farther northwest along Highway 318 and had reportedly crossed into the Sand Wash Basin.

Fire personnel have not yet been available for comment regarding updated acreage numbers.

In addition, the National Weather Service extended a fire watch for Northwest Colorado and northeastern Utah until 10 p.m. Saturday, reporting that fire danger remained high due to gusty winds and low humidity.

This story is developing, and the Craig Press will provide updates as more information becomes available.

Silver Creek Fire remains fierce on Day 2 of flare up

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Silver Creek Fire southeast of Steamboat Springs remained angry as it chewed through forest and threatened homes, as well as U.S. Highway 40.

The smoke plume could again be seen from Steamboat.

Between Wednesday and noon Thursday the fire had grown 1,862 acres with a total of 6,870 acres burned.

On Thursday, some residents in the Gore Pass area spent the evening watching the fire from an overlook near Latigo Ranch as air tankers made frequent retardant drops and a Chinook helicopter dropped water on hot spots.

A pre-evacuation notice has just been issued for residents in the Lake Agnes, Rabbit Ears Village, Bear Mountain Ranch, Old Park and Latigo Ranch areas due to increased fire activity.

Officials were still trying to evacuate hunters from the woods around Forest Service Road 100, which is known as Buffalo Park Road. They might find their campsites burned up when they return.

"They still have some guys that haven’t come back to camp that they think are deep in the wilderness," U.S. Forest Service spokesman Aaron Voos said. "That’s still a priority, and they’re still working on it."

Plans are being developed to close U.S. Highway 40.

"They feel like they’re close enough that they need to have a good plan in place," Voos said.

A Type 2 incident management team has been ordered to come and manage the fire. They were expected to be at the Friday morning briefing.

Those teams as well as the air resources flying overhead are expensive.

Before Wednesday's flare up, total cost estimates for the fire were $20 million.

"It will be significantly more than that," Forest Service spokesman Aaron Voos said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.

Survey: Moffat County’s economy boosted by wild horses

CRAIG — Visitors traveling to Moffat County to see wild horses have been adding tourism dollars to the local economy, but until now, data had been unavailable to determine the value of the wild horses of Sand Wash Basin.

Wild Horse Warriors — a nonprofit group of wild horse advocates — hopes the results of a survey created by Craig resident Nadja Rider will provide facts and figures to encourage greater support for the herd.

About 750 free-roaming horses live in the Sand Wash Basin herd management area — a 160,000-acre area about 45 miles west of Craig which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management under the auspices of the Wild Horse and Burro Act.

In 2014 Rider — a frequent visitor to the basin, where she photographs and documents the horses — started her "Wild Horses of Sand Wash Basin" Facebook page.

In August, she used Survey Monkey to ask more than 192,000 followers a series of questions to gain a better understanding of who is traveling to watch the horses, where they are staying, how much they are spending, and what they thought of the experience.

Within a few hours, she said, 500 people had responded, and a total of 859 had responded before the survey ended.

According to Rider, the data showed the following.

• About half the people taking the survey had visited Sand Wash Basin; the remainder expressed interest in visiting.

• Visitors travel from across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Egypt, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and most European countries.

• Many travel specifically to see the wild horses.

• The average stay was three to seven days, with some staying as many as 10 to 14 days.

• Most reported spending an average $1,000 during their stay. Some groups reported spending $20,000 or more on their trip.

• About half of visitors made day-trips from Meeker, Steamboat Springs, and Grand Junction.

• About half of visitors reported staying in lodging in Craig.

• Visitors also camped in Sand Wash Basin, stayed in lodging in Maybell, or camped in Craig or Maybell.

• Most visitors said they had visited at least once per year and up to four times per year.

• Many visitors have been visiting for four to five years in a row, with a handful having visited for longer.

The survey also collected comments from visitors.

One respondent said, "We usually plan two to three trips to the basin each year. We find the people of Craig to be very friendly and welcoming. If not for Sand Wash Basin, we probably wouldn't visit the area."

Another stated, "I had only planned on an overnight stay on my way home, and then I saw the horses and stayed three nights. I will be coming back with my better camera soon, if the horses are still there."

Many of the commenters recalled stories of flat tires; minor injuries, such as a broken wrist; and other accidents, but these experiences did not deter visitors from returning.

Members of the WHW, including Rider, presented their findings to Moffat County commissioners Ray Beck and Frank Moe during the public comment period of an August board meeting. Commissioner Don Cook was not present.

"I don't think our commissioners understand the value, economically, of what they (the wild horses) do for Moffat County," said WHW founder Cindy Wright in an interview after the meeting.

WHW, and members like Wright, raised more than $20,000 in a month, an amount that has grown to more than $35,000, to help provide water to the horses during the summer’s extended drought. The effort has been done through an agreement with the BLM.

The money is being spent locally to pay for equipment, services of a professional water hauler, and water, which WHW had hoped to obtain from the county at the Maybell Fire Department.

Moe confirmed that, initially, the group was being supplied water from public sources in Maybell. However, that was curtailed, Moe said, due to concerns there would be insufficient water for the county to meet essential public service needs, road and bridge, and firefighting in the face of the drought.

After WHW presented its survey results, Beck and his wife visited the Sand Wash Basin.

"I think we can all agree that the wild horses are an economic benefit to Moffat County, but I think we can all also agree that the horses in the basin are overpopulated," Beck said.

The BLM has determined the land can support between 163 and 362 horses without detriment to the ecosystem.

The commissioners take exception to the idea that the county isn't supportive.

Beck said the county has supported projects by the Moffat County Tourism Association to install interpretive signs and feature the wild horses in marketing material.

He's asked the WHW to give commissioners dates and times, so they can set a meeting to bring people together to discuss the future of the horses in light of their overpopulation and the drought.

"Let's sit down at the table and discuss who is responsible for what and why and get everyone on the same page," he said.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.