Friday, September 29, 2017

Carbon Monoxide Detectors, Smoke Alarms, Winter Heating & Fire Safety

As the temperatures drop and the smell of wood burning chimneys and stoves fill the air it is prime time to have your chimney cleaned and inspected to remove creosote buildup.  Creosote is a category of carbonaceous chemicals formed by the distillation of various tars and by pyrolysis of plant-derived material, such as wood or fossil fuel – simply it is the black stuff that accumulates when incomplete combustion (burning) occurs and it “sticks” to cooler surfaces like the inside of your chimney.  This is why double- and triple-walled stovepipe is preferred over single-walled. On multiple walled stovepipe the inside wall is actually able to stay at a higher temperature and the unburned fuels (creosote) going up your chimney tend to not “stick” as much and exit through the top.

Since creosote is basically unburned fuel and it collects on all stovepipe (single-, double-, and triple-walled) over time it needs to be cleaned or “swept” on a regular basis.  We suggest sweeping before you start to burn in the Fall and once again halfway through Winter (middle to late January depending on how much you burn).  If you are hiring a company to sweep your chimney, it is a good idea to have them inspect your system – providing you with “peace of mind” concerning materials, construction and clearances.

Whether you clean it yourself or have someone else do it, the investment in a good cleaning is well worth it in peace of mind alone.

This is also a good time of year to check if you have CO (carbon monoxide) detectors and smoke alarms properly installed and operational.  Both of these are relatively inexpensive insurance policies for your life and property.  The following is an excerpt from Colorado House Bill 09-1091 concerning CO detectors:
• This law requires homeowners and owners of rental property to install carbon monoxide alarms near the bedrooms (or other room lawfully used for sleeping purposes) in every home that is heated with fossil fuel, has a fuel-fired appliance, has a fireplace, or has an attached garage.

• This requirement applies to every home that is sold, remodeled, repaired, or leased to a new tenant after July 1, 2009.

• This law also protects a property owner, an authorized agent of a property owner, or anyone who installs a carbon monoxide detector from any potential future liability (or damages) resulting from the operation, maintenance, or effectiveness of the detector, so long as the detector was installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions and in accordance with this law.

• This law also protects persons holding real estate licenses pursuant to Article 61 of Title 12, C.R.S from any damages, claimed by a purchaser, and related to the operation, maintenance, or effectiveness of a carbon monoxide alarm if such licensed person complies with the rules set forth in this law.

From Section R313 of the 2003 International Residential Code (which is the adopted code in La Plata County) concerning smoke alarms:

[F] R313.1 Smoke alarms. Smoke alarms shall be installed in the following locations:
1. In each sleeping room.
2. Outside each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms.
3. On each additional story of the dwelling, including basements but not including crawl spaces and uninhabitable attics. In dwellings or dwelling units with split levels and without an intervening door between the adjacent levels, a smoke alarm installed on the upper level shall suffice for the adjacent lower level provided that the lower level is less than one full story below the upper level.

When more than one smoke alarm is required to be installed within an individual dwelling unit the alarm devices shall be interconnected in such a manner that the actuation of one alarm will activate all of the alarms in the individual unit. The alarm shall be clearly audible in all bedrooms over background noise levels with all intervening doors closed.

All smoke alarms shall be listed and installed in accordance with the provisions of this code and the household fire-warning equipment provisions of NFPA 72.

Please follow all manufacturer specifications for correct model and installation of heating appliances for your specific application.


Ashes & coals – these will both continue to ‘burn’ up to 72 hours after taking them out of your stove.  PLEASE make sure you are transferring ash to a heavy duty metal (not plastic) bucket for the first cooling and then to a second bucket which you can douse with water (watch for steam) and cool completely.  Do not place the ash bucket on a combustible surface such as wood.  This seems like common sense, but how many times do we throw out common sense for speed and shortcuts?  Please, take the time needed to safely dispose of hot ashes.

Lastly, space heaters get used a lot on these cold days.  Space heater concerns are how close it is to flammable materials (curtains, wall hangings, books/papers) and how accessible it is to small children and pets.

Here are some quick things to remember as we move into this Winter heating season:

Heating equipment is involved in 1 in every 6 reported home fires and 1 in every 5 home fire deaths.

Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from any heat source like fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, or space heaters.

Keep portable generators outside, away from windows, and as far away as possible from your house.  Install and test carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month.

Have a qualified professional clean and inspect your chimney and vents every year. Store cooled ashes in a tightly covered metal container, and keep it outside at least 10 from your home and any nearby buildings.

Plug only1 heat-producing appliance (such as a space heater) into an electrical outlet at a time.


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Friday, September 8, 2017

San Juan National Forest - Firefighters are MONITORING the ¼-acre 990 Fire



San Juan National Forest15 Burnett Ct.
imagesCAU8LEAJDurango, CO 81301
(970) 247-4874

Forest Service Twitter@SanJuanNF

News Release 


CORRECTION: Firefighters are MONITORING the ¼-acre 990 Fire, 3 miles southwest of Henderson Lake in the Bear Creek drainage on Missionary Ridge. Smoke is visible from Rockwood and the Glacier Club.  

-USDA-
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

For more information, visit the Forest Website at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/sanjuan/ , or follow us at:  https://twitter.com/SanJuanNF

Forest Service Shield
Ann Bond
Public Affairs Specialist
Forest Service 
San Juan National Forest
p: 970-385-1219
c: 970-799-1210
abond@fs.fed.us
15 Burnett Court
Durango, CO 81301
www.fs.fed.us 
USDA LogoForest Service TwitterUSDA Facebook
Caring for the land and serving people

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

San Juan Basin Public Health - Prevent Animal-borne (Zoonotic) Disease



As summer progresses, San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) reminds community members that the risk of contracting certain animal-borne diseases increases. Zoonotic diseases are more common during warm weather months when humans and animals are frequently in close contact. 

Since the start of the year, the state has reported three hantavirus case in La Plata, Jefferson and Garfield counties, four tularemia cases in Adams, Fremont, Larimer, and Weld counties, and one case of West Nile virus in Jefferson County.

SJBPH stresses the importance of controlling the presence of rodents and mosquitoes around homes as well as wearing insect repellant and appropriate clothing when heading outdoors. Additionally, keep your pets up to date on vaccinations, and protect your pets from fleas and ticks. Do not  handle or feed wild animals, especially those that appear sick, and do not touch dead animals or animal waste. Remember to speak to your children about these precautions. 

Rabies
Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. People contract rabies from the bite of a rabies-infected animal (rabid animal). If you have had a bat in your room while you were sleeping, it is important that the bat is trapped and tested for rabies. Please call SJBPH for further guidance or to report an encounter with a suspect animal.

Plague
Plague is caused by bacteria that can be transmitted to humans by the bites of infected fleas or by direct contact with infected animals. Plague is frequently detected in rock squirrels, prairie dogs, wood rats, and other species of ground squirrels and chipmunks. SJBPH investigates prairie dog population die-offs for the presence of plague. Community members can report a suspected die-off to SJBPH.

West Nile Virus
West Nile virus is carried by mosquitoes and can be passed on to humans through mosquito bites. This disease can cause encephalitis or inflammation of the brain, lining of the brain, and spinal cord. Remember to use insect repellent when going outdoors. Also, help reduce the number of mosquitos around your home by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths on a regular basis.

Hantavirus 
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) is a severe, sometimes fatal, respiratory disease. Hantavirus is carried by wild rodents, particularly deer mice, and is present in their droppings, urine, and saliva. Dried droppings or urine can be stirred up in dust and humans may contract hantavirus by breathing in the contaminated air. Before cleaning up droppings, be sure to wear a mask, ventilate the room by opening windows and doors, and spray down all droppings with a bleach solution before vacuuming or sweeping.

Tularemia
Tularemia is found in the rodent rabbit populations and is transmitted by insect bites, direct transmission, or inhalation and/or ingestion of the bacteria. The infective dose is very small and can persist for long periods of time in water, soil, and carcasses. 
When mowing or landscaping:
  • Don’t mow over sick or dead animals. When possible, check the area for carcasses prior to mowing.
  • Use of masks during mowing and other landscaping activities may reduce your risk of inhaling the bacteria, but this has not been confirmed.
If you hunt, trap or skin animals:
  • Use gloves when handling animals, especially rabbits, muskrats, prairie dogs, and other rodents.
  • Cook game meat thoroughly before eating.

Tick Borne Diseases
Colorado tick fever is the most common tick-borne disease in Colorado, though most cases go unreported. It's a viral illness characterized by fever, headache, body aches, nausea, abdominal pain and lethargy. Complete recovery may take two to three weeks. The disease is not life-threatening and infection results in lifelong immunity. There's currently no preventative vaccine or effective treatment except to let the disease run its course.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a serious disease that's transmitted by infected Rocky Mountain wood ticks. Symptoms include sudden onset of high fever, headache, chills, and muscle aches. A rash often appears a few days later. Prompt medical attention is extremely important because Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be fatal if treatment is delayed. The illness can be cured with antibiotics.

To learn more about the symptoms, treatments, and other information for these diseases, visit http://sjbpublichealth.org/communicable-disease/. Information is also available from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment at www.colorado.gov/cdphe or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Smoke & Hot Spots after a Fire

Durango Fire would like to ask that community members use discretion when calling 911 for smoke and/or fire within the Lightner Creek Fire area.

It is normal for there to be hot spots, glowing spots, fire, and/or smoke within the 'black' area (within the containment lines) of a contained wildland fire. This is why containment is defined by percentage of perimeter surrounding the fire and not the percentage of area extinguished (within the containment lines).

From a preventative standpoint, It is actually better to let these areas burn to reduce the fuel load in case of a future fire in that area.  

If you are in, or near, the CR207/CR208 area you will probably be seeing more smoke and hot spots for days to come.  If you are feeling uncertain or unsafe, please call 911.  If this activity is within the containment lines, we ask that you don't call 911.  Durango Fire crews and the Type III Incident Management Team are monitoring the area for your, and the community's protection.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Lightner Creek Fire Update July 3, 2017 - 8:15 a.m.




Lightner Creek Fire Update 
July 3, 2017 - 8:00 a.m. 

Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Black 
Shane Greer, Incident Commander 

Information Center: (970) 335-8084 
Hours of Operation: 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. 

This will be the final update for the Lightner Creek Fire from Rocky Mountain Team Black 

Current Situation: The Lightner Creek Fire is now 95 percent contained due to the continued hard work of the firefighters. The current fire size is 412 acres, however this increase from what was previously reported is due to more accurate mapping, and not an increase in perimeter growth. 
On Sunday, all remaining residents that had been evacuated were allowed to return home. The roads will remain closed to the public, and only residents with Rapid Tag cards issued from the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office will be allowed in the area. Residents can expect to continue to see firefighting resources in their community. 

On Monday, firefighters will patrol the fire’s perimeter and perform any suppression repair that is necessary. Smoke may continue to be visible at times, but is well within the controlled edge of the containment line. Excess resources will continue to be released from the fire as they complete their work. 

With the fire nearly at full containment, Rocky Mountain Team Black will transition management of the fire back to the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control and the Bureau of Land Management on Tuesday morning. A type 3 incident management organization – consisting of an incident commander, one engine, and one helicopter - will continue to patrol the fire as necessary. 

Weather: The forecast calls for gusty west, northwest winds with a slight chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Winds are expected to be 10 to 15 mph with gusts to 20 mph. Relative humidity is expected to increase slowly through the week. 

Safety: Despite the success in containing the Lightner Creek Fire, the potential for another wildfire remains high due to dry vegetation, high temperatures, and low relative humidity. Fire officials urge homeowners living in the wildland urban interface to create defensible space around their home. Visit www.southwestcoloradofires.org/ for more information about becoming a fire adapted community. 

Closures: All recreation trails in the “Test Tracks” west of downtown Durango remain closed; including Hogsback, Leyden and Hidden Valley trails. The Bureau of Land Management and Colorado Parks and Wildlife have closures in place on public lands east of County Road 208. U.S. Forest Service trails in the Dry Fork area leaving the Colorado Trail into the above referenced closure are marked with signs indicating the fire closures in the Perins Peak area. 

Fire Restrictions: Several Fire Restrictions are in place in the area. Please visit http://www.coemergency.com/p/fire-bans-danger.html for a complete listing of fire restrictions in Colorado. 

Lightner Creek Fire 
Start Date: June 28 
InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5298/ 
Location: 4.25 miles WNW of Durango 
Email: lightnercreekfireinfo@gmail.com 
Size: 412 acres 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BLMMontroseFireUnit/ 
Percent Contained: 95 
Twitter: #lightnercreekfire 
Cause: Structure; spread to wildland 


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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Lightner Creek Fire Update July 2, 2017 - 8:30 a.m.




Lightner Creek Fire Update 
July 2, 2017 - 8:30 a.m. 

Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Black 
Shane Greer, Incident Commander 

Information Center: (970) 335-8084 
Hours of Operation: 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. 

Current Situation: Containment of the Lightner Creek Fire has increased to 89 percent. The fire’s size has increased slightly to 406 acres. Crews were able to make excellent progress on building containment lines despite the challenging terrain. A drone flying in the fire area temporarily halted air operations on Saturday, but helicopters eventually resumed flying by the afternoon to support firefighters on the ground. On Saturday evening, residents on County Road 207, north of the intersection of County Road 207/208, were allowed to return home. Additionally, all pre-evacuation notices are now lifted. 

On Sunday, firefighters will continue to build and secure existing containment lines around the fire. Smoke may still be visible within the fire perimeter at times, and should not be a concern to residents or visitors in the area. All remaining evacuated residents will be allowed to return home as of Sunday morning. This includes residents of County Roads 207 and 208, north of U.S. Highway 160. 

Weather: The forecast calls for continued hot and dry conditions. Winds are expected to increase on Sunday, with a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. 

Safety: Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), or drones, are not allowed over wildland fire operations. They pose a serious risk to pilots, firefighters, and the public. A drone can be fatal to firefighting pilots and firefighters working to suppress the fire. Unauthorized drones also disrupt and delay firefighting efforts. 

While residents may return home, County Roads 207 and 208 remain closed to the public. This remains an active fire area, with firefighting operations under way. Please do not disrupt fire operations or obstruct equipment. 

Closures: All recreation trails in the “Test Tracks” west of downtown Durango remain closed; including Hogsback, Leyden and Hidden Valley trails. The Bureau of Land Management and Colorado Parks and Wildlife have closures in place on public lands east of County Road 208. U.S. Forest Service trails in the Dry Fork area leaving the Colorado Trail into the above referenced closure are marked with signs indicating the fire closures in the Perins Peak area. 

Fire Restrictions: Several Fire Restrictions are in place in the area. Please visit http://www.coemergency.com/p/fire-bans-danger.html for a complete listing of fire restrictions in Colorado. 

Lightner Creek Fire 
Start Date: June 28 
InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5298/ 
Location: 4.25 miles WNW of Durango 
Email: lightnercreekfireinfo@gmail.com 
Size: 406 acres F
acebook: https://www.facebook.com/BLMMontroseFireUnit/ 
Percent Contained: 89 
Twitter: #lightnercreekfire 
Cause: Structure; spread to wildland 

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team - Lightner Creek Fire Update



Lightner Creek Fire Update 
July 1, 2017 - 8:30 a.m. 

Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Black 
Shane Greer, Incident Commander 

Information Center: (970) 335-8084 
Hours of Operation: 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. 

Current Situation: Crews made excellent progress securing the western flanks of both portions of the Lightner Creek Fire (west and east of County Road 207) on Friday. Air operations supported firefighters on the ground with water drops, but no retardant was used on Friday. Handcrews will continue to secure and strengthen containment lines on Saturday, with the objective of allowing evacuated residents to return to their homes as quickly as is safe to do so. Residents and visitors may see smoke occasionally from the northeast portion of the fire on the east side of Country Road 207 as the vegetation inside the fire perimeter is consumed by the fire. This should not be a cause of concern to the public. Fire officials emphasize that the smoke visible in town is well within the perimeter of the fire. Crews are optimistic that they will be able to continue to make progress on increasing containment of the Lightner Creek Fire on Saturday. 

Weather: Sunny skies and dry weather are expected to continue. High pressure will provide relief from critical fire weather conditions of the past few days. 

Safety: Wildfire behavior is largely contingent upon weather and fuel conditions. The potential for fire activity remains high. The public is reminded to be cautious with all combustible materials to prevent unwanted, human-caused fires. Fireworks are always illegal on all public lands. 
Please remember that members of the public who illegally fly drones over or near wildfires threaten the safety of firefighters and the effectiveness of wildfire management operations. Unauthorized drones disrupted and delayed air operations on the Lightner Creek Fire during the initial response. 

Closures: County Roads 207 and 208 remain closed. All recreation trails in the “Test Tracks” west of downtown Durango are closed; including Hogsback, Leyden and Hidden Valley trails. The Bureau of Land Management and Colorado Parks and Wildlife have closures in place on public lands east of County Road 208. U.S. Forest Service trails in the Dry Fork area leaving the Colorado Trail into the above referenced closure are marked with signs indicating the fire closures in the Perins Peak area. 

Fire Restrictions: Several Fire Restrictions are in place in the area. Please visit http://www.coemergency.com/p/fire-bans-danger.html for a complete listing of fire restrictions in Colorado. 

Lightner Creek Fire 
Start Date: June 28 InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5298/ 
Location: 4.25 miles WNW of Durango Email: lightnercreekfireinfo@gmail.com 
Size: 397 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BLMMontroseFireUnit/?fref=nf 
Percent Contained: 29 Twitter: #lightnercreekfire 
Cause: Structure; spread to wildland 

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