Governor Jared Polis has extended a disaster emergency over severe weather.
He made the official declaration Monday after he verbally announced the emergency status last week. It covers areas that were hit hard by last month’s summer storms.
It originally covered El Paso, Elbert, Lincoln and Washington counties. Now, after the governor consulted with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, it also includes Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Douglas, Kit Carson, and Logan counties. Tornadoes and flooding hit the region, leaving at least one person dead in Weld County after their car was swept away by floodwater. The official state of emergency unlocks special disaster funding and activates the State Emergency Operations Plan.
The West End of Montrose County began stage one fire restrictions on Monday.
The county cited high temperatures and worsening dry conditions as the deciding factors in this precautionary measure. Sheriff Gene Lillard said this year’s significant snow pack resulted in tall cheatgrass that is extremely flammable and spreads rapidly when ignited.” The restrictions apply to the unincorporated county area in the West End ONLY and do not include any property on the east side of the Uncompahgre Plateau.
Stage 1 fire restrictions do not allow open burning of any kind. That includes agricultural burning, open campfires and fireworks. Smoking cigarettes outdoors is not allowed. Campfires in a pre-approved campground or enclosed fire pits are permitted. As a reminder, fireworks on publicly managed lands are prohibited.
The impacts of oil and gas drilling in the North Fork Valley are seldom seen from the road. KVNF’s Lisa Young went high in the air over the valley recently with Ecoflight and Citizens for a Healthy Community to view the valley and see the impacts first hand.
In November, Colorado voters easily approved Proposition FF.
As KVNF previously reported, this new tax measure will raise more than $100 million a year to pay for free school meals by reducing income tax deductions available to households earning $300,000 or more.
As the start of school approaches, KVNF’s Cassie Knust sat down with Preston Weaver of Montrose County School District to discuss the district’s progress in implementing this new program. Weaver is the general manager of the district’s nutrition department.