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Briefs: Spring burns planned

Daily Staff Report
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY ” Controlled fires will be set this spring on Derby Mesa and east of Burns in northwestern Eagle County.

The fires are meant to clear off dead brush and other foliage to make way for new growth that are better for animals to eat. Clearing out the dead foliage should also reduce the intensity of any future wildfires.

The fire on Derby Mesa, west of Burns, is planned for 200 acres. The other fire, at Deerpen east of Burns, should be about 20 acres. A 1,200-acre burn is planned east of Basalt near southwestern Eagle County.

The exacts dates have not been set because crews will wait for ideal weather conditions to set the fires. Controlled fires are typically set on the Western Slope between late March and early May.

For more information, call 328-6388.

ASPEN ” News that Aspen Highlands will stay open an extra week had filtered down to locals by Sunday.

John O’Donovan and Shanti Rosset, both of Aspen, were probably among the most excited. The two got engaged at Picnic Point, on Highlands, and are planning to wed April 11.

“All our family members are coming on the seventh,” O’Donovan said Sunday while riding up the Loge Peak chair. “This is wonderful news.”

Highlands will stay open until April 8, one week later than the Aspen Skiing Co. planned, spokesman Jeff Hanle confirmed Sunday.

Tracy Murtagh of Aspen was happy Sunday when she found out about the extra week on the bus ride to Highlands. She was planning to hike Highland Bowl for what would be her 30th Bowl run this season ” and hopes the extra week would help her get up into the mid-30s.

“Yeee-ha,” Murtagh said. “It always has the best snow late in the season.”

” Joel Stonington

EL JEBEL ” A woman and young child received minor injuries Friday morning when used hair-coloring chemicals wrapped in a plastic bag ignited in the bathroom of an El Jebel mobile home, said Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson.

Basalt Fire-Rescue received a report of an explosion at 9:51 a.m. at 60 James Circle. Firefighters were on the scene, which was across the street from their station, in two minutes.

Thompson said the woman filled pots and pans with water from the kitchen sink to extinguish the fire before fleeing the home. She and her three-year-old child received minor burns and suffered smoke inhalation, he said. They were treated at a local hospital and released.

The source of ignition hasn’t been determined, Thompson said.

The woman dyed her hair the day before and the materials were still in the house. Thompson said people must read and understand all precautions and warnings for storage and handling of products such as hair dye.

EAGLE COUNTY ” This week’s Waterwise Wednesday session has been canceled.

The scheduled presentation, sponsored by conservation group Eagle River Watershed Council, was on a challenge by local agencies to Denver Water’s plans to use water in the Eagle River and its tributaries. Denver Water and the local agencies are currently negotiating over the water supply.

But “with the tone of the discussion turning in a seriously negative direction,” the watershed council canceled Wednesday’s session, the group said in a press release.

EAGLE COUNTY ” Property owners in Eagle County can get federal help cleaning up so-called “noxious weeds.”

The weeds are considered harmful to rivers and farmland. Weeds covered in cost-share program include purple loosestrife, yellow starthistle, absinth wormwood, black henbane, Dalmatian toadflax, diffuse knapweed, houndstongue, leafy spurge, oxeye daisy, perennial pepperweed, plumeless thistle, salt cedar, Scotch thistle, spotted knapweed and yellow toadflax.

The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. Landowners must submit an Environmental Quality Incentives Program application to the Natural Resources Conservation Source office in Glenwood Springs by Friday.

For more information contact Stephen Jaouen, range specialist at the Natural Resource Conservation Service, at (970)945-5494 or dennis.davidson@co.usda.gov.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The U.S. Forest Service will close the visitors’ center in its Glenwood Springs office this year, but officials insist that is part of a plan to actually enhance contact with the public.

The visitors’ center in the White River National Forest supervisor’s office on Grand Avenue could close as soon as May, according to agency spokeswoman Sally Spaulding. The space will be converted to administrative offices.

Forest Supervisor Maribeth Gustafson said the change is in line with her philosophy to reach out to the public more effectively and “not wait for people to walk in through the front door.”

The supervisor’s office was never really intended to be a visitors’ center, she noted. The office is closed on weekends and nights ” times when visitors’ demands for information are highest. The district ranger offices located in Aspen, Carbondale, Rifle, Meeker, Eagle and Dillon are better suited to handle visitors, Gustafson said.

Gustafson said the Forest Service’s visitors’ center won’t close in May if an alternative hasn’t been found. “It’s not like we would ever just close the door,” she said.

” Scott Condon


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