Headlines April 22, 2022
Officials Warn Of Extreme Fire Conditions Today
The National Weather Service has issued a warning for extreme fire conditions today because of predicted high wind gusts, very low humidity, and a streak of high temperatures.
More than half of Colorado and most of the Front Range is now under a red flag warning. Winds coming from the east and the region covering Denver and Castle Rock could gust as high as 60 miles per hour during midday when temperatures are highest.
Greg Hanson,a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Boulder warns there’s a much larger area that is in critical danger than there was for the Marshall Fire, reported The Denver Gazette.
According to Hanson, although winds will not be as strong as the Marshall Fire, the region is experiencing much drier conditions. Forecasters are warning any new fire will spread quickly and conditions will make it difficult, if not impossible, to control a fire.
The Weather Service and emergency personnel are asking the public to avoid all outdoor activity that may produce a spark, including lawn mowing, and parking vehicles in tall grass.
Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle has issued Level 1 fire restrictions which bans open fires, outdoor stove fires on public land, fireworks, firearm shooting, outside smoking, chainsaw use, welding or flame torch use, and vehicle use in grass that may come in contact with the underside of a vehicle.
Boulder area residents may sign up for address-specific evacuation notices on Everbridge by visiting following this link or by visiting the website of the Boulder Office of Emergency Management.
Investigators Determine Culprits To Recent Boulder County Wildfires
Boulder officials have announced that three researchers with the University of Colorado Boulder’s Aerospace Engineering Department studying severe weather started Wednesday’s Table Mountain Fire after crashing a drone which caught on fire.
The fire burned 52 acres west of Longmont and prompted evacuations. According to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, the drone crashed at a high rate of speed into the ground, causing a lithium ion battery cell to dislodge and ignite.
The research crew used an on site-fire extinguisher but could not stop the fire before it quickly spread because of high winds. The Sheriff’s office deemed the incident as an accident and will not file charges.
The Sheriff’s Office also made an update yesterday on its investigation of the NCAR Fire that occurred last month and burned close to 200 acres in South Boulder. Investigators believe the fire was human-caused and started just off of the Bear Canyon Trail. A Sheriff’s Office spokesperson told the Daily Camera that investigators found remnants of a small campfire near the trail, but did not find an associated campsite. The Sheriff’s Office has not been able to connect the fire to any suspects and have indicated they will discontinue the case barring any new substantial leads.
Environmental Groups Sue Colorado Air Pollution Control Division
Nonprofit environmental groups WildEarth Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity are suing Governor Jared Polis’ administration for taking too long to give operating permits to air polluters in Adams County.
The lawsuit targets the Air Pollution Control Division of the Polis administration, alleging that it failed to meet deadlines to review and update operating permits for services like the Sinclair and Phillips 66 oil terminal.
The suit, filed Wednesday, says facility reviews are overdue well beyond the state-mandated, 18-month limit. Jeremy Nichols, Program Director for Wildearth Guardians, stated that Colorado is allowing the oil and gas industry a “free pass to pollute.”
Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission Continues To Drag Its Feet
On Thursday, the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) shot down a citizen petition to speed up a transition away from gas powered Trucks and Buses called the Clean Trucks Rule. The petition asked that the commission to create a plan to implement the Clean Truck Rule by the end of the year.
At Thursday’s meeting, the commission slowed the process until 2023. They told environmental groups they needed more time to craft rules. They also said they needed to conduct more research on the low-income communities and communities of color who are severely impacted by pollution from trucks and other fossil-fuel infrastructure.
Environmental justice advocates responded saying the AQCC had plenty of time to conduct this outreach and review existing research. They said that it has been obvious that the severely impacted groups have been loudly in favor of stricter emissions rules.
Before Thursday’s vote, the AQCC members held an hour-long executive meeting to revise legal input. Elise Jones, a commissioner, advocated for immediate policy changes, saying that the time for stalling was over. She said about the committee, “They need to respond in a timely manner to efficiently reduce issues that have an immense impact on the society living amongst them.”
Denver Giving Out E-Bike Rebates
Starting today, Denver residents can apply for a $400 instant rebate before buying any class of electric bikes from one of eleven participating bike shops.
A $1,200 instant rebate is also available for income-qualified residents. Residents who buy an E-cargo bike are also eligible for an additional $500 rebate.
Among the program’s restrictions, rebates cannot exceed the price of the electric bike and residents cannot resell their e-bike or purchase more than one e-bike under the incentive. To see a list of participating bike shops and for more information about the Denver Climate Action Rebate program, Denver listeners may go to the city’s webpage on sustainable transportation.