Thanks to KSNO for fire coverage
Early afternoon Wednesday, July 31, I got the phone call I’ve been dreading since the Coal Seam Fire. “Missouri Heights is on fire. Get home as soon as you can.”
My office is in Glenwood Springs, some 30 minutes away. As I raced to my car, I mentally located cat carriers, the leash, the big bag of dog food. As my car started, KSNO cranked, and they were already on the Missouri Heights fire. Jim Laurence was giving an update. It was started at a construction site in Panorama, and the wind was blowing it northwest. This was good news, and I calculated the geography of fire to house. Traffic on Grand Avenue was bad, as usual. As I cleared the Wal-Mart stoplight, another fire update on KSNO. They had just heard from the slurry bomber people in Grand Junction. No slurry bombers were available to send to Missouri Heights. Uh oh. Drive faster. We’re screwed. No slurry, and there are usually big afternoon winds in Missouri Heights.
You know the rest of the story. Local skilled firefighters were on the scene within the first hour of the fire, somehow slurry bombers were diverted to Missouri Heights, and the fire was contained and conquered in two days. My house did not burn.
My primary source of information on the fire as it was happening was KSNO. We lost power at our house on Wednesday, about mid-afternoon. We scrambled to find the right batteries for a portable radio so we could listen to KSNO and know what was going on, since all we could see was black smoke billowing over the ridge just above our house. And because the news team and the on-air staff had done such a remarkable job covering the Coal Seam Fire, I trusted every word I heard from those guys.
KSNO is deserving of our respect and our trust, I think. Congratulations to the team of Don Chaney, Scott Bayens, Jim Laurence, and Dave Johnson for coming into the community like gangbusters, affirming that they are here to contribute and participate, and to be responsible to all the potential that a local radio station can develop. They have never been content to just rip `n read news, or to exist as background music for life in the valley. It has never been just about a competition as to who plays the coolest tunes. Their creative advertising has been another way to inform us about goods and services available, and radio should be both informative and entertaining.
Local radio can be an immediate and effective asset to a community when both staff and ownership have a vision as broad as their airwaves. I appreciate this vision in the new KSNO, and I thank them for telling me “What you need to know in the Roaring Fork Valley.”
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David Aguilar scans the landscape along the ridge above the Roaring Fork Valley floor where he lives and worries about the worst — another wildfire that could level his and possibly hundreds of other homes…