Craig Briefs: AAA projects jump in Memorial Day Travel |

Craig Briefs: AAA projects jump in Memorial Day Travel

AAA projects jump in Memorial Day Travel

AAA Colorado projects 632,000 Coloradans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a 5 percent increase from last year and the highest travel volume for the holiday in 10 years, according to a news release.

The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as May 21 to May 25.

Lower gas prices spark increased auto travel. Kicking off the summer driving season, 88 percent of Colorado travelers (556,000 Coloradans) will be driving to their destinations. Travelers continue to benefit from substantially lower gas prices compared to recent years. Colorado’s average price is $2.52, almost a dollar a gallon less than last year. AAA predicts most U.S. travelers nationwide will pay the cheapest Memorial Day gas prices in at least five years.

Lower air fares also help increase travel. Air travel is expected to increase 2.6 percent with 51,800 Colorado leisure travelers taking to the skies. Average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes are 2 percent cheaper this year, falling to $222 round trip.

Memorial Day hotel, car rental rates increase. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, the average daily car rental rate this Memorial Day will be $19 higher than last year. The average nightly stay in a Three Diamond hotel will cost 7 percent more, averaging $182.

BLM advises to learn before a controlled burn

It doesn’t take long for fire danger to increase once snow begins to melt, according to a news release from the Bureau of Land Management. Combine that with warm, windy conditions, and brush and grass dry out quickly. A wind-whipped fire in quick-burning, dormant vegetation can cause a burn to easily become uncontrollable.

Federal and state land management agencies obtain weather forecasts from the National Weather Service before igniting any controlled burn and so should residents. Your local National Weather Service office can be contacted 24 hours a day at 970-243-7007, or visit its website at weather.govgjt for fire weather forecasts.

Fire has been used as a land management tool for generations. It’s used to clear land of debris and excess plant material, promote grass regeneration and replenish nutrients to the soil. While spring offers optimal burn conditions, dead vegetation can carry fire through green plants and pose control issues, especially on windy days. Observing the following tips will provide a safer environment for debris and agricultural burning.

■ Contact your local county sheriff’s office before burning and obtain required burn permits.

■ Call the National Weather Service at 970-243-7007 and get the predicted weather conditions for your burn day.

■ Don’t burn on windy days.

■ Notify your neighbors of your plans to burn as a matter of safety and courtesy.

■ Ready water and equipment — have a reliable water source and have shovels, rakes and equipment on hand.

■ Establish fire breaks — create fire lines by digging to bare dirt and removing flammable material.

■ Try to burn into the wind as this will slow the rate of spread and makes the fire easier to manage.

■ Stay with the fire at all times — never leave a fire unattended.

■ Have plenty of help — more people means more control.

■ Ensure the fire is out cold before leaving the area; smoldering embers have ignited unattended fires.

■ Call 911 if fire burns out of control — the longer you wait, the bigger the fire becomes before help arrives.

Remember: Your fire is your responsibility. Should an agricultural or debris fire damage other private, state or federally managed lands, you could receive a fine or be held responsible for the cost of the damage and impacts.

Now is the time to address wildfire mitigation near homes and communities.

With Colorado’s snowpack at only 65 percent of average and Red Flag Warnings again in effect throughout much of the state today, the Colorado State Forest Service reminds landowners that there’s no better time than now to prepare homes and communities for wildfire, according to a news release.

“Sometimes the best defense is a good offense,” Mike Lester, state forester and director of the Colorado State Forest Service, said in a statement. “Long before a fire arrives, landowners should be taking pre-emptive actions to reduce wildfire potential.”

The CSFS offers free guides for protecting property from wildfire, including those that cover FireWise building construction and tips for protecting homes by maintaining wildfire-defensible zones. The agency also offers site visits with homeowners to discuss concerns and works with communities to address mitigation and wildfire threats on a larger scale through the development of Community Wildfire Protection Plans.

“Homeowners and communities bear the ultimate responsibility to help protect themselves and their property from the threat of wildfire,” Courtney Peterson, Colorado’s wildfire mitigation education coordinator, said in a statement. “Taking simple steps now can help make homes more defensible and help protect residents and firefighters.”

Peterson said some of the critical concerns to reduce the risks presented by early season, wind-driven wildfires include cutting and removing dead grasses and weeds, raking up thick beds of pine needles and keeping gutters, decks and roofs free of pine needles and other combustibles.

State publications, guidelines and other information on wildfire mitigation and developing CWPPs are available at CSFS district offices or online at

Community photo submissions accepted

The Craig Daily Press welcomes photo submissions from community members. If you have cool photos you took while on vacation, camping or hunting, or even photos of your child’s birthday party, submit them to

Photos must be at least 1 megabyte in size and clear, meaning blurry photos should not be submitted. Include the name of those in the photo along with the date and place where it was taken. The newspaper prefers recent and timely photos.

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