Tuesday, August 25
Practice at shooting range sparks Grand County wildfire
(Information in the following story is from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com)
HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Target practice at a public shooting range in Grand County sparked a wildfire that has burned more than 500 acres.
The Byers Canyon Shooting Range was closed until further notice after the fire that began around noon on Monday burned dry vegetation on the property and the surrounding area.
One residence was evacuated, but later the occupants were able to return. There were no reports of injuries.
Local, county, state and federal emergency responders have been battling the blaze.
As of Monday night, the fire was 70 percent contained.
A group of range users reported a fire near the area where they were shooting. Officials with Colorado Parks and Wildlife spoke with the group and found no evidence of illegal behavior.
WESTERN WILDFIRES-COLORADO HAZE
Wildfire haze in Colorado could stick around for weeks
DENVER (AP) — The smoke and haze drifting from Pacific Northwest wildfires could hang around northern Colorado for weeks.
That's according to the National Weather Service, which says the hazy conditions could persist until the fires go out, maybe not until October.
The Denver Post reports that meteorologists expect the haze to clear briefly if northern Colorado sees rain later this week. But a high-pressure system that hangs over the area will again trap the smoke once the rain moves out.
A meteorologist with the Weather Service in Boulder says, "I don't know if we will see crystal clear skies for a while."
Denver International Airport is warning passengers that the smoke and reduced visibility caused by the fires could delay some flights by an average of about 30 minutes.
In reversal, Colorado mine town to seek federal cleanup help
SILVERTON, Colo. (AP) — The Colorado town where a toxic mine leak earlier this month unleashed a torrent of heavy metals into Western rivers has decided to change course and request a federal disaster funds to clean up the mine.
The Silverton Board of Trustees and the San Juan County Commission approved a joint resolution Monday to seek the money. It's a reversal for local officials who long feared that designation as a federal Superfund site would harm economic development.
That decision same under fire when the partly collapsed Gold King mine ruptured Aug. 5, spewing 3 million gallons of metal-laced water. The waste entered a creek that feeds major rivers in several Western states.
A crew from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency caused the leak when workers were trying to stabilize the mine.
INMATES-MENTAL HEALTH DELAYS
Group: Inmates languishing without mental evaluations, care
DENVER (AP) — An advocacy group says jail inmates are waiting two months or longer to get mental health evaluations and care because the state hospital is short-staffed.
The Disability Law Center said Tuesday Colorado is violating a federal court settlement requiring the hospital to admit inmates within 28 days after a judge orders a competency evaluation or rules an inmate is incompetent to stand trial.
State officials acknowledge some inmates are waiting longer than 28 days but say the problem isn't as severe as the advocacy group claims. They say they're working on a solution.
The dispute is over inmates who've been charged with a crime but haven't gone to trial. Some are awaiting an evaluation to determine if they're mentally competent to stand trial. Others have been found incompetent and are awaiting treatment.