Burnouts increases East Meadow Creek Fire containment from 50 to 75 percent
A pair of firefighters suffered minor injuries Wednesday when they were struck by a falling snag along the north flank of the Spring Creek Fire.”They’re doing all right now. They were taken to Valley View Hospital, given x-rays, and released with bruises,” said fire spokesman Clint Trebesh. “They went home.”No injuries were reported Thursday, he said.Meanwhile, fire crews made significant progress containing the East Meadow Creek Fire, 12 miles north of New Castle and about six miles north of the Spring Creek Fire.The 93-acre fire, which has burned around Meadow Lake Campground, is now 75 percent contained, Trebesh reported.High humidity hampered firefighter’s attempts to use a burnout to strengthen the fire line Wednesday, but fire crews made gains using bulldozers and digging fire lines by hand.Burnouts were completed Thursday, Trebesh said, boosting containment from 50 percent to 75 percent.Mop-up work continues on the south and west flanks of the fire.Meanwhile, plumes of smoke erupted Thursday from within the interior of the 13,400-acre Spring Creek Fire, burning since June 22.”There’s been torching of small groups of trees,” Trebesh said. “With the winds, sometimes they pick up a bit.”Firefighters are surveying the new burns to size up the situation, he added.A total of 293 people are fighting the two fires, including seven 20-person fire crews. They’re assisted by four engines, four helicopters, two bulldozers, an excavator, four water tenders and a rugged backcountry water tender called a Proteus.Burnout operations were also conducted within the perimeter of the Spring Creek fire on Thursday. Fire information officer Mike Martin said those efforts were successful. New wildfire lawsOn Thursday, Gov. Bill Owens signed five bills dealing with wildfire danger in Colorado passed during the special session last week.”Some of the bills are punitive, increasing the penalties for causing a wildfire. Others are proactive, improving our ability to respond to fires or updating older laws,” Owens said.”It is my hope, and my belief, that this package of legislation will make a difference,” he added.The new bills make the following changes:-HB 1001, sponsored by state Rep. Gregg Rippy, R-Glenwood Springs, and state Sen. Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs, would triple the civil damages that can be assessed for people who cause a wildfire. Half the state’s wildfires are started by people, Owens noted.-HB 1018 gives counties the power to ban the sale of fireworks when fire danger is high.-HB 1025 authorizes state funds for initial aircraft attacks on wildfires.”By attacking wildfires early from the air, most of these fires can be contained before they have a chance to spread,” Owens said.-SB 7 provides homeowners with fair access to insurance in federally designated wildfire disaster areas.”Most insurance companies are responsive, but this bill will help weed out a company that may seek to take advantage of a policyholder facing fire danger,” Owens said.-SB 12 increases penalties for throwing burning objects from a moving vehicle.”Many people are far too casual about discarding a cigarette or match out the window, not stopping to think about the potential danger. By establishing tougher penalties, we hope to increase awareness of the danger and cut down on this practice,” Owens said.”Vigilance has to be our watchword during this hot, dry summer. If you’re in one of our dry forested areas, take a moment to think of the terrible consequences that can result from just one careless act. Obey the fire bans and obey the laws,” he said.
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