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For ANY emergency, after calling 911, call Matt Charboneau 663-5949, Pat Maslowski, 461-3870 or Shirley Miller 663-4801

Storm Mountain Community Fire Alerts & Information


February 20, 2009 BOBCAT RIDGE WILDFIRE:
By Howard Pankratz: 303-954-1939 or
A 51-year-old man who was burning slash piles earlier in the week southwest of Fort Collins has been cited by Larimer County officials for accidentally igniting the Bobcat Ridge fire. Officials said today that David McMurtrey of Loveland had a burn permit issued by the Rural Loveland Fire Protection District. But investigators believe he did not fully comply with regulations in the permit. It states that anyone with a permit must ensure a burn is fully extinguished before leaving the scene.

Eloise Campanella, Sheriff's Office spokeswoman, said today that one of the slash piles on McMurtrey's property was not completely extinguished and reignited in high winds. Campanella said McMurtrey had spread dirt over the slash pile to extinguish it, but high winds blew the dirt off, reigniting the fire.

The fire was first reported about 11:40 a.m. Tuesday and was contained at about 5 p.m. Thursday.

The Sheriff's Office has issued a summons to McMurtrey for "firing wood and prairie," a Class 2 misdemeanor. It carries a potential penalty of up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. McMurtrey has been fully cooperative with investigators.

"He is a real nice guy and trying to help out as much as he can," said Campanella. She added that McMurtrey lives in Loveland but has property where the slash pile ignited.

A slash pile is composed of trees or tree branches gathered from cleaning ditches or trimming trees, she said.

The fire was 4 miles west of Masonville, east of Spruce Mountain in mixture of national forest land, private land and the highly popular Bobcat Ridge Natural Area, owned by the city of Fort Collins . On Thursday, 37 firefighters from Larimer County and Americorps were at the scene along with three engines. A few firefighters remained at the scene today to make sure no hot spots arise.

Campanella said that there are high winds in the area and that the grasses, shrubs and trees are drying out.

"It is going to be a bad fire season," she said.


February 20, 2009 Australia Wildfire Photos:
These were received in an email from a friend. I wish I could tell you details about the fire and the photographer. Click here to view slideshow.

Matt Charboneau's, Mark Bruemmer's and Roger Debenham's photos can be viewed here.

February 17, 2009 BOBCAT RIDGE WILDFIRE:
Many news sites are carrying the story that we can see from our homes. Google "Bobcat Ridge Wildfire" and you'll see them. The forest service official press release can be seen here. The fire was downsized from the original estimate of 100 acres to approximately 52 acres.

According to one newspaper early on: West Fort Collins wildland fire estimated to be about 100 acres. Firefighters responding to the wildland fire west of Loveland and Fort Collins near the Bobcat Ridge Natural Area are now estimating the blaze to be about 100 acres. Officials near the fire are reporting tight, rugged conditions as they try to manuever equipment along trails. Loveland Fire Marhsal Tim Haag reports firefighters are still trying to find the best access to the blaze, which is believed to have started before noon today. Additionally, dry and windy conditions exist. Firefighters are reporting wind gusts of 20 to 50 mph in the region. The area around Masonville is filled with smoke from the fire. Firefighters from agencies throughout Larimer County are staging at the Bobcat Ridge Natural Area parking lot. Visitors are being turned away and asked to stay clear of the region. Windy and dry conditions are making accessing the blaze difficult. Photos of the fire can be seen accompanying this article .

Press Release from The Coloradan

Officials from the National Forest Service issued the following press release about the wildland fire burning west of Loveland and Fort Collins:

Bobcat Ridge Fire Update

The Bobcat Ridge Fire is currently burning in the Roosevelt National Forest and on private land.

It is located approximately four miles west of Masonville, east of Spruce Mountain. There are no evacuations in place.

The fire could be as large as 100 acres.

Firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service, Larimer County Emergency Services, Loveland Fire, Poudre Fire Authority, and Colorado State are all responding or already on scene.

For the latest information, please call our recorded information line at 970-498-1030.

February 13, 2009 FINES WENT UP!
This may be old news, but it bears repeating with the upcoming year predicted to be very dry for us--at some point in the heat of the summer there will probably be a ban on fires. This information is useful to know.

On March 1, 2008 R. Scott Rappold of the Gazette wrote
"PARK FINES GOING UP--The last time dry conditions forced a campfire ban in Pike National Forest, in 2006, 141 reported violations were reported in El Paso and Teller counties.

"The 70 people whom forest rangers caught were fined $25 each.

"They said, 'Great, come back tomorrow and write me another one, if it's just 25 bucks', said Tom Healy, law enforcement officer in the Pikes Peak Ranger District.

"The next time fires are banned, violators will face a much higher cost.

"The U.S. Forest Service said fines for illegal campfires are increasing to $300, part of an across-the-board spike in fines in Colorado's national forests."

February 11, 2009 Call for Bon Fire at 179 Badger Court:
9:40 pm Roger received call from Kim Powers stating we had an out-of-control bonfire at 179 Badger Ct. He asked if 911 had been called. Kim said no. Just personnel were needed.

Our call list focused on those closest to the scene. We called: Dave Legits, Dennis Hudson, Karl Ashcraft, Terry Briscoe, Ed Haimes, Matt Charboneau, Bryce Nelson and Kris Futo. All said they would respond except those who were apparently not home at the time--that being Matt, Ed and Dennis. Karen and Roger stood by to provide emergency traffic assistance should it have become necessary. Thankfully it was not needed.

Arrival at the scene found a 6 foot diameter fire with flames in excess of 15ft. Engine 62 was discovered to have a broken part so no water was available for initial response. Crew at scene:  Richard, Marty, Rich, Bill, Bryce, Kayla, Kris. Fire easily contained and smothered, surrounded with fire line 5 ft. wide. Richard educated fire owner about fire safety and SMERT. Crew dispersed at 10:35pm

All in all I think that the response was great. Many thanks to all those involved!
Bryce Nelson

Once again Smert has saved the day. Given another 30 minutes, what started as a small runaway campfire could have been the start of another Bobcat Fire. Special thanks to Ed and Josh for the quick notification and for their help containing the fire before our trucks (and water) arrived on scene. We also had the pleasure of having one of your other Smert members, Matt Charboneau, who shJulie Weberowed up fully dressed in appropriate wildland gear and donated his time as well.

Please remind your members at your meeting that a fire could break out anywhere, anytime and having your gear and needed items (like water, boots, and flashlight) in your car might prove to be really handy when seconds count (because safety is always our top consideration!). Also, it is a good idea to have a hose connected and ready to use if you need to wet down your grass, trees, and house in case of a fire in the area or even a fire inside your house if your fire extinguisher is not enough.

Hopefully by now everyone has fire proofed their property as I know that Smert has gone to considerable effort to educate our residents.

As always, your help is greatly appreciated and your initial efforts to contain wildfire is a saving grace to our community and to the people that love our mountain. This fire season might be one of the worst we have seen in many years and together I hope that we can prevent any harm to the place we call home.
Sincerely,  Lt. Julie Weber (Big Thompson Canyon VFD)

January 21, 2009 COMBAT ROCK FIRE:
Once again an unattended campfire in the National Forest put our access road and our community in jeopardy. Today could have been a very bad day. It could have been, but wasn't because four members of the Big Thompson Canyon Volunteer Fire Department were on scene quickly. You can check out these photos at the Kodak Gallery. A big Thank You to BTC VFD!!! And a special thank you to Ed Haimes and his employee, Josh, for their quick thinking and rapid response. (Photos by Matt Charboneau and Roger Debenham.)

Smoke at Crosier Mtn fire, taken by Karen Novak, 4th filing

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