Glenwood Wildfire Shuts Down I-70
Leadville Crew Assists with Wildfire
Update: August 13 @ Noon.
The Grizzly Creek Wildfire in Glenwood Canyon just made another touchpoint with its neighbors in Leadville and Lake County as Leadville’s Wildland Firefighters were dispatched from this side of the pass to help their colleagues battle the blaze as it enters day three with zero containment.
“He got the call yesterday,” explained Jennifer Brown Rogowski, a Twin Lakes Photographer and regular Leadville Today Contributor whose husband Fritz is part of the crew. “The rest of the crew met up, and loaded up the gear.”
Fortunately, she also got some great shots of the team as they head out to do their jobs with great dedication. Along with Fritz, Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue Captain John Ortiz and Alex Conlin are now part of the crew helping out neighboring Garfield and Eagle County Teams.
The Grizzly Creek Fire ignited on Monday, Aug. 10 along Interstate 70 in lower Glenwood Canyon forcing the shutdown of I-70. Initial reports site the source as a possible blown out tire or dragging chain that created the spark that ignited the blaze, now tallying more than 4,600 acres as of this morning. I-70 is closed – indefinitely – due to firefighting efforts occurring on and along the interstate, as well as rocks and other debris rolling onto the roadway. Drought conditions have created critically dry fuels that are very receptive to fire. The fire is burning in oak scrub, mixed conifer, and aspen. According to the Incident Command Grizzly Creek Wildfire web page, the fire’s growth is fueled by fuels, topography, and weather. In addition, all jurisdictions in the area are under Stage 2 fire restrictions as of today, Thursday, Aug. 13.
The National Wildfire Coordinating Group provides national leadership to enable interoperable wildland fire operations among federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners. Primary objectives include:
- Establish national interagency wildland fire operations standards. Recognize that the decision to adopt standards is made independently by the NWCG members and communicated through their respective directives systems.
- Establish wildland fire position standards, qualifications requirements, and performance support capabilities (e.g. training courses, job aids) that enable implementation of NWCG standards.
- Support the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy goals: to restore and maintain resilient landscapes; create fire adapted communities; and respond to wildfires safely and effectively.
- Establish information technology (IT) capability requirements for wildland fire.
- Ensure that all NWCG activities contribute to safe, effective, and coordinated national interagency wildland fire operations.
For more information on how to participate head over to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group’s website.
In the meantime, keep the Leadville team in your thoughts as they help out neighbors over the pass at the Grizzly Creek Fire – see below for more info and links on this fire incident.
Lake County Traffic To Feel Impact
**Update ** 5:30 p.m. August 14.
Here’s the latest concerning traffic over Independence Pass/Highway 82 in southern Lake County.
Update: 6 p.m. 8/11/2020 – Due to the active fire response immediately next to Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon, the interstate will be closed overnight between Mile Point 116 (Glenwood Springs) and MP 140 (Gypsum). The closure is for both directions of traffic and CDOT not does not have a timeline for reopening. Please see further below for photos of fire activity today just east of Glenwood Springs.
GARFIELD & EAGLE COUNTIES I-70 in Glenwood Canyon continues to be closed between Mile Point 116 (Glenwood Springs) and MP 140 (Gypsum). The closure is for both directions of traffic with no estimated time of reopening. The safety closure will allow CDOT to assess two bridges located near where the Grizzly Creek Fire started, as well as increased rockfall hazard in Glenwood Canyon. Both assessments are taking place today. Rockfall has been reported and is likely due to burned vegetation no longer holding rocks in place.
CDOT has paused some construction projects to allow for detour traffic. CDOT asks that motorists not use Cottonwood Pass (Eagle & Garfield counties) or Independence Pass as detour routes, as these roads are not built for heavy traffic or commercial oversize vehicles.
Drivers should anticipate additional traffic on these routes. CDOT has paused some construction projects in order to accommodate detour traffic. However, travelers should be aware of possible construction impacts on US and state highways. CDOT recommends that through traffic on I-70 use a southern detour route, due to construction on commonly used northern alternate routes.
- – WESTBOUND: Denver metro area motorists can travel on US 285 to US 50, and continue west to Grand Junction. Travelers on I-70 can use CO 9 to US 285 south to US 50, or use CO 91 southwest to US 24 to US 50.
- – EASTBOUND: Motorists traveling from Grand Junction can use US 50 east to US 285 and continue to Denver. Motorists headed to areas west of Denver can also use the westbound detour in reverse.
For residents and businesses north of I-70, the following alternate routes are best:
- – WESTBOUND: Motorists can connect to US 40 via CO 9 or CO 131. To continue to Grand Junction, take CO 139 south to I-70. CDOT advises commercial traffic to use CO 9 instead of CO 131, for safety purposes. Please note that while CO 13 is open at this time, it is not a recommended detour due to construction. Oversize commercial vehicles are not allowed on CO 13 due to construction.
- -EASTBOUND: Near Fruita, motorists can travel north on CO 139 to US 40, then south on CO 131 or CO 9, returning to I-70. As stated above, CO 13 is not recommended due to construction.
Agencies are responding to the Grizzly Creek Fire in Glenwood Canyon. Updates and information can be found at:
Adult Diversion Program Marks One Year
The following press release was distributed to media outlets on August 10 by the 5th Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown’s Office.
The Adult Diversion Program began in 2019 to divert felony offenders from traditional court processes. This was the first program of its kind in Eagle, Summit, Clear Creek and Lake Counties, and is now becoming part of a national movement on criminal justice reform.
The Adult Diversion program tenets are: Offenders accepted into the program take responsibility for their actions and agree to be monitored by DA5’s Adult Diversion Coordinator, including participating in mental health or Active–w/Pending Felony/Misdemeanor Charges, 45 Successfully Completed, 11 Revoked Participants, 5 Dismissed Case, 1 Pending, 2 Adult Diversion Participants Active–w/Pending Felony/Misdemeanor Charges Successfully Completed Revoked Participants Dismissed Case Pending substance abuse treatment.
Other wellness-oriented programs may include yoga/meditation, equine therapy, wellness workshops, and formal education (GED completion). Also, to repair any harm to others caused by the offense, offenders must write a letter of apology to any victim, pay restitution, and create a positive lifestyle.
“I found that taking ownership of my actions, and being honest in my apology helped raise the burden of guilt I felt over my actions,” said ‘Tom’, a recent program participant. “I never thought I would commit a crime, but given that it happened, I also feel profoundly grateful that the Diversion Program was available to me,” he added.
Successful participants end up with a clean criminal record improving their chances for future employment and lessening family disruptions. Due to the program’s early success, a small State grant for diversion programs has been received for 2021 and the program is branching out to include adult misdemeanor offenses.
“I don’t see Diversion as a punishment, but rather a support system for the participant to ensure this behavior doesn’t happen again,” said Audrey Radlinski, 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office Adult Diversion Coordinator. “In addition to repairing the harm caused during the crime, we address the surrounding circumstances that led up to the crime and get the participant connected to the supports they need,” Ms. Radlinski added.
“Not every crime needs to be prosecuted and not every criminal deserves jail time,” said Bruce Brown, 5th Judicial District Attorney. “The best approach can be to start the offender taking accountability for their actions, then giving back to their communities, while remaining working, tax-paying citizens who keep their families and our society moving forward,” District Attorney Brown added.
For more information about the program: LINK, or contact us at: email@example.com.