Fire Restrictions Increase in Region, COVID Cases on the Rise

6/23/2022

Persistent drought has caused severe fire weather conditions, so area agencies have moved to Stage 2 fire restrictions. That means no fires whatsoever. This story is sponsored by Service Master Restore and Ute Mountain Casino

Lack of precipitation and hot windy days have prompted the San Juan National Forest to increase fire restrictions. The county mixes the contract on the proposed managed campsite in West Durango. And the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Indian tribes receive federal funding for seven clean water improvement projects. You are watching the local news roundup, brought to you by Service Master Restore and the Ute Mountain Casino. I'm Hannah Robertson. The La Plata county commissioners terminated its contract with the owners of four lots adjacent to the dog park parking area in west Durango last week, citing a number of insurmountable limitations. The site was to have been a new location for a managed homeless camp to replace the camp located at Purple Cliffs off of La Posta Road across the river from Walmart. The county approved the properties purchase in April for $1.7 million contingent upon the land's suitability for the camp. Staff research indicated that the properties development area was limited by the flood plain and covenant restrictions imposed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, as a result of the federal uranium mil tailings removal project in the 1980s. Despite the setback, the commissioners plan to close the Purple Cliffs Camp before next winter, and will continue their search for a suitable site. To learn more, visit the county's website at co.laplata.co.us. Severe fire weather conditions have forced the San Juan National Forest to move to stage two fire restrictions. That means all fires, including fires in developed recreational sites, charcoal grills, and barbecues, coal and wood burning stoves, and sheep herder stoves are prohibited. Campers may use liquid fueled stoves, grills and lanterns. Smoking is limited to an enclosed vehicle or building. Welding or operation of any torches with an open flame is prohibited. Spark arresters must be used with any type of internal combustion engine, and on chainsaws. Motor vehicles must stay on established roads, motorized trails, or established parking areas, or in areas devoid of vegetation within ten feet of the vehicle. And all explosives, including fireworks, are prohibited. Stage two fire restrictions also apply to bureau of land management lands, Mesa Verde National Park the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, and La Plata County. Montezuma County has had a fire ban in place since May. The Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Indian tribes will receive more than $4 million in federal infrastructure grants to improve water treatment and delivery systems on the reservations. Colorado senators, John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet made the announcement earlier this month, after the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure law. The bill included $3.4 billion for tribal projects nationwide. The Southern Utes will receive $1.6 million for sewer main improvements, a pump station to replace the Ignacio Mountain Lagoon and will replace cast iron water pipes. The Ute Mountain Utes will receive 2.5 million to build sanitation facilities and transfer station, improve the towel walk water distribution system and replace water lines. To learn more, visit Bennett's official senate website at bennet.senate.gov. San Juan Basin Public Health reports that COVID transmission rates are on the rise and advises masking for public indoor spaces and on public transportation. The Colorado Department of Public Health and environment is monitoring COVID trends through wastewater testing. You can obtain free KN95 masks and at home COVID tests at San Juan Basin's offices in Bodo Park. For more information visit sjbpublichealth.org. Thanks for watching this edition of the local news roundup. I'm Hannah Robertson.

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