Headlines October 26, 2020
Snow Provides Reprieve for Those Fighting Wildfires in Colorado
The winter storm that came into the state yesterday has given firefighters a much-needed reprieve. However, officials said that, while the snow has calmed the East Troublesome and Cameron Peak wildfires, it has not extinguished them.
Closer to Boulder, up to eleven inches of snow fell over the Cal-Wood fire yesterday according to the official Facebook page for it and the Lefthand Canyon Fire.
Freezing drizzle and treacherous roads made travel extremely dangerous. Firefighters took the day to fix equipment and will be ready to go if conditions allow. The Cal-Wood fire is 76% contained and has burned 10,105 acres. The Lefthand Canyon fire is 100% contained at 460 acres.
As far as the East Troublesome and Cameron Peak fires are concerned, Paul Delmerico, operations section chief on both fire zones near Estes Park, said that they did not anticipate any growth yesterday or today, adding that it will likely be a few days before they see fire activity in the area.
But Saturday was different. Rocky Mountain Park officials reported that the East Troublesome fire intensified and continued to make a significant eastward run from the Continental Divide to Bear Lake Road on the east side.
9News reports that officials estimate as many as 300 to 400 homes have burned in the East Troublesome Fire. Crews are still assessing damage, but the homes belonging to at least seven fire personnel are complete losses.
Brett Schroetlin, the Grand County Sheriff, said that all missing people have been located and no one is unaccounted for as of Sunday.
However, he cautioned, that the fire is not over and that the disaster continues.
Aurora Mayor Tests Positive for COVID-19
Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman said yesterday that he tested positive for COVID-19 and will quarantine until he is free of the virus.
The Denver Post reports that the news prompted Gov. Jared Polis — who was with Coffman on Oct. 15 — to consider quarantining, but state health officials determined he did not need to do so, because there was no risk to the governor of being exposed from the mayor.
Mayor Coffman said on Twitter that he did not feel well on Thursday with a very mild cold and cough. A rapid test Saturday was positive.
The mayor’s results come as coronavirus cases are on the rise in Colorado and including Aurora.
On Friday the Tri-County Health Department announced it was increasing restrictions on businesses and residents — moving Adams county from a Level 2 alert to a Level 3 — because of “skyrocketing” cases.
Also on Friday, Colorado health officials issued an order limiting gatherings in the state to no more than 10 people, and those are limited to persons from only two separate households. The order goes into effect immediately and lasts for at least 30 days.
The Colorado Sun reports that residents were previously allowed to gather in groups of up to 25 people with no limit on how many households they could come from.
Under the new order, there is no limit on gatherings of members of the same household. But people must postpone–at least for the time being–gathering in parks, backyards or indoors with a few other couples to socialize.
Dr. Rachel Herlihy, Colorado’s top epidemiologist, has warned that if the trend in new cases is not reversed, the state’s intensive-care hospital bed capacity could be surpassed in the coming months.
CU Boulder Announces Plans for Next Semester
University of Colorado Boulder officials announced Friday that there will not be a traditional spring break next semester.
Not having the vacation is an effort to prevent a surge in cases similar to what happened this fall.
The Daily Camera reports that Chief Operations Officer, Pat O’Rourke, said that, students traveling for spring break could be very taxing on mental health, if they were to spread the virus and cause a spike.
Students are not returning to campus after Thanksgiving in November and will finish the semester through all-remote learning. The spring semester will begin Jan. 14, three days later than normal, and the campus will have two additional mid-week “wellness days.”
Denver High School Moves Away from Confederate Mascot
Denver’s South High School is adopting a new mascot and will now be known as the home of the Ravens. Denver7 reports that the change replaces the “Rebels” which harkens back to the days of the Confederacy.
Bobby Thomas, the principal of South said in a statement that the old emblem no longer seemed appropriate, acceptable, or accurate for what South High stands for.
Denver Public Schools Board Member Tay Anderson applauded the decision, saying he hopes other schools will take note.
Weather, Closures and Delays
The weather is affecting many schools and offices in the metro area.
All St. Vrain Valley District classes are canceled Monday including both in-person and virtual classes.
In the Boulder Valley School District, students learn independently on Mondays to give teachers time to plan. But Boulder Valley will have a two-hour delay for its childcare programs.
Aurora Public schools are closed as are those in Jefferson County. In Denver, all public schools will be on remote learning.
CU Boulder is on a two-hour delay.