Agencies brace for summer blazes

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Agencies brace for summer blazes

Warm, dry conditions expected to heighten danger
Holden Welch clears a tree, and, from left, Dylan Hendricks, John Conway and Nick Werner, all with an Upper Pine Fire Protection District wildland crew, carry logs and slash away during fire-mitigation work Tuesday at the Deer Creek subdivision east of Bayfield.
Holden Welch, with the Upper Pine Fire Protection District wildland crew, sharpens his chain saw while doing fire-mitigation work in the Deer Creek subdivision east of Bayfield.
An Upper Pine Fire Protection District wildland crew stacks logs for a landowner while doing fire-mitigation work at the Deer Creek subdivision east of Bayfield. Firefighters say fire season is about a month ahead of schedule this year.
Udall wants new air tankers

Sen. Mark Udall said Thursday the U.S. Forest Service announcement that it has awarded two companies contracts for eight large air tankers for fighting wildfires this year is welcome news.

But Udall, D-Colo., said he will insist on acquiring next-generation air tankers.

“Air tankers are critical firefighting resources that can save lives and prevent small blazes from becoming catastrophic wildfires,” Udall said in a statement. “The Forest Service decision to award these contracts is a step in the right direction, but I plan to keep fighting to get the next-generation air tankers it needs to update its Korean War-era fleet.”

Udall has long called for the Forest Service and the U.S. Air Force to secure air tankers for the 2013 fire season. He also urged private contractors in February to respect the decision to award contracts to more than one company.

He also championed a bipartisan amendment to the 2014 budget to add $100 million for wildland firefighting.



daler@durangoherald.com

Fire restrictions

When fire danger is high, federal fire managers can impose restrictions on activities on public lands. Restrictions can vary according to elevation and level of danger.

STAGE 1: Limits campfires to permanent fire rings in developed campgrounds; allows smoking only in a vehicle, a building or a 3-foot-wide area cleared of vegetation; requires working spark arresters on chain saws; prohibits welding, use of explosives and fireworks.

STAGE 2: Bans campfires; allows smoking only in an enclosed vehicle or building; requires a shovel and fire extinguisher if using a chain saw; prohibits welding, use of explosives and fireworks.

STAGE 3: Closes public lands to all entry.

The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management will disseminate information when restrictions are imposed.

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Agencies brace for summer blazes

Holden Welch clears a tree, and, from left, Dylan Hendricks, John Conway and Nick Werner, all with an Upper Pine Fire Protection District wildland crew, carry logs and slash away during fire-mitigation work Tuesday at the Deer Creek subdivision east of Bayfield.
Holden Welch, with the Upper Pine Fire Protection District wildland crew, sharpens his chain saw while doing fire-mitigation work in the Deer Creek subdivision east of Bayfield.
An Upper Pine Fire Protection District wildland crew stacks logs for a landowner while doing fire-mitigation work at the Deer Creek subdivision east of Bayfield. Firefighters say fire season is about a month ahead of schedule this year.
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