Crews get jump on Mad Creek blaze

Crews get jump on Mad Creek blaze

Crews working on the Mad Creek fire are making headway, taking advantage of cool conditions.

The fire is burning within the control lines, maintaining 1,025 acres disturbed, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Punky Moore said.

“Everything went well and according to plan and schedule,” she said.

Today there will be two Hot Shot Crews on the fire, with the remaining three meeting their 14-day rotation schedule. Fire officials are still looking for complete containment today, with last reports indicating 70 percent of the fire is contained, Moore said.

That doesn’t mean the fire is completely under control or rule out another large flare up.

“A fire like this has the potential to get up and move around again,” Moore said.

Crews initially responded to the Mad Creek fire on July 9, when flames sparked from a lightning strike were spotted. It burned about 100 acres in a blowdown area near Swamp Park in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness.

The fire was under control a few days later.

However, an undetected hot spot from the blaze remained, which flared up on July 24.

Man pleads guilty to mischief

A 31-year-old Steamboat Springs man pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief stemming from a June incident where he threatened a man with a small knife.

Alan Lee Morris pleaded guilty Wednesday to the class three misdemeanor and will be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 22. Morris could be sentenced by Judge James Garrecht to six months in the Routt County Jail, fined $750 and ordered to take an anger management course.

Initially, Morris was charged with a felony, but the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor. During the early morning hours of June 16, Morris pulled out a small fold-up knife and threatened a 39-year-old Steamboat Springs man at a local bar.

Resident pleads guilty to fourth DUI

A 47-year-old Yampa man pleaded guilty to his fourth drunken driving violation Wednesday in Routt County Court.

James Francis Bolton, 47, pleaded guilty to the driving offense as well as driving under restraint.

Bolton was arrested after he lost control of the vehicle he was driving May 1 on County Road 14.

Because of the accident, Bolton suffered compression fractures to his back and severe cuts to an ear.

According to court records, a breath test showed he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.187, more than twice the legal limit.

Bolton will be sentenced by Judge James Garrecht at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 29.

Bolton is expecting to receive a six-month jail sentence and to continue with alcohol treatment.

Bolton has been in jail since his arrest. Garrecht has agreed to give Bolton credit for time he has served, and he could be released from jail Aug. 19.

Court records show Bolton’s last drunken-driving conviction occurred in July 1996.

Local hunting operation proposed

Mike Hogue is seeking a recommendation for approval by the Routt County Planning Commission for a permit to build a sport clay shooting range and a raised-bird hunting operation on his ranch west of Steamboat Springs.

Right now there are two operating gravel pits on the Hogue Ranch the Duckels/Hogue Pit on the eastern edge of the property and the Bettger Pit on the north side of the property, according to the Routt County Planning Department.

The clay shooting range is proposed to be on reclaimed portions of Bettger Pit and would consist of 10 stations, according to the county.

Raised-bird hunting would occur on the harvested agricultural land and pastures throughout the 1.071-acre ranch, which is approximately six miles west of Steamboat Springs on either side of U.S. 40.

The Planning Commission will discuss the issue at 7 p.m. today at the Commissioners Hearing Room in the Routt County Courthouse Annex. It is second on the agenda.

Lottery workshop set for Aug. 9

Staff members from the agency that redistributes lottery proceeds to communities throughout Colorado will be in Steamboat Springs to conduct a workshop Aug. 9.

Representatives of Great Outdoors Colorado will be at Centennial Hall, 124 10th St., from 2-4 p.m., to help grant applicants tap into the funding source.

GOCo gives grants for open space preservation and for local parks and outdoor recreation. The agency granted almost $10 million to Northwest Colorado in the late 1990s to help fund the Yampa River Legacy Project. Statewide, GOCo has awarded $266 million statewide.

People interested in the workshop may call 303-863-7522 or e-mail GOCo at, or go online at

Plant gets early fire-up approval

LaFarge will be firing up its concrete batch plant earlier than usual on Aug. 8 when Fox Construction begins pouring the slab for the revamped ice arena at Howelsen Hill.

Routt County commissioners approved a one-time exemption for LaFarge to start up its plant at 4:30 a.m. that morning.

The plant is in the valley south of Steamboat off of County Road 131.

LaFarge asked for the early start because the concrete has to be poured early during lower temperatures.

“Due to the size of the pour and the plastic piping in the slab, the concrete can’t get over 75 degrees,” explained Commissioner Doug Monger.

The ice skating rink is getting an overhaul, including a new refrigerating system to keep the ice cold.

Monger said if the concrete gets too warm, it will make the pipes in the slab expand.

After the concrete cures, the pipes would then shrink, leaving air space between the concrete and the pipes.

“That cuts down on the effectiveness of the refrigerant system,” Monger said.

If construction continues on time, the Howelsen Hill Ice Arena will be open again by Oct. 1.

The ice arena is also getting new locker rooms with showers and bathrooms. They’re being built underneath new concrete bleachers which will replace the old metal bleachers. Hockey and ice skating fans hope the new refrigeration system means the ice arena will be open year-round, instead of part-time. Many local skaters have to travel during the summer months to get serious training and practice elsewhere.

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