To the Editor:
On Wednesday, I was all too close to Conifer - just 60 miles away from our haven here - which is reeling from an uncontrolled, monumental fire.
It's speculated now that a latent spark, fueled by high winds, from a controlled burn by the Colorado State Forest Service is a likely suspect for this devastation. Our governor apparently agrees with this premise as he has just put a ban on controlled burns in State Lands.
The firefighters are working around the clock, battling a bigger beast and, according to authorities, in spite of incoming equipment there just simply are not enough boots on the ground. There is also some form of state fiscal immunity, that unless there are unprecedented reversals, most victims will not be compensated for their huge losses.
This March, as reported, is one of Colorado's warmest and driest months on record. With this and with the prevention of potential similar devastation in mind, Craig has just issued a red flag warning. Other communities are considering following the same path.
These are our sister communities, but what are we doing to be proactive in Grand County?. Is it not better this time to err on the side of precaution and prevention? I admire our fire chiefs and powers-that-be for their community communication and earnest participation, but maybe there are now other plans that should be immediately taken into consideration and acted upon. "It takes a village" to be proactive and defensive, and this indeed is a good place to start.
We subsist in one of the most heavily timbered and beautiful areas of the state, in spite of millions of dead trees, and are hosts to millions of visitors who frequently are unaware of our extreme fire dangers. To be ahead of the game should we have:
• An early fire ban, protecting us taxpaying citizens at the cost of some "inconvenience to hunters and sportsmen?"
• Ban all campfires except in regulation firepits?
• Pass out big and bold smoking regs to RMNP visitors at pay stations?
• Have regular patrols each day at high traffic unregulated camping sites - such as C.R, 4?
• Post clear safety precaution signs at these sites?
• Make campers register for ALL sites within these areas?
How can we help? Let us know - we love this community and want to preserve it for now and forever. Charred woods will not invite nor entice the visitors.