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The Spikebuck Fire, a 6-acre blaze that closed U.S. 50 14 miles west of Canon City on both Wednesday and yesterday, was contained yesterday, allowing for the highway to reopen in the afternoon. The fire began about 2:30pm on Wednesday afternoon and is suspected of being caused by a mowing operation on U.S. Bureau of Land Management land. U.S. 50 was closed for 6-1/2 hours on Wednesday and was closed again from 8am to 1pm yesterday to allow for low-level helicopter flights. Helicopters were flying out of the Fremont County Airport, were dipping buckets into the Arkansas River and were using the water to help extinguish the fire. Cooler temperatures and higher humidity also helped knock down the blaze. A crew remained on scene throughout the day yesterday to monitor the fire. The exact cause remains under investigation.
The 1,145-acre Springer Fire located 3.5 miles southwest of Lake George in Park County was about 40% contained yesterday. Fire officials say that the fire is believed to have been human-caused and may be related to recreational shooting, prompting an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, the Park County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms officials. Residents of Beaver Valley Ranch and Beaver Valley Estates were allowed to return home yesterday, while Echo Valley, the Wagon Tongue subdivision and Circle C Ranch remained under a mandatory evacuation. Elevenmile Recreation Area also remained closed yesterday, however the Elevenmile Reservoir is open from the South Park side. Almost 480 firefighters, including two hot shot crews, 8 hand crews, 39 engines and five helicopters continue to work the blaze.
Water levels in Lake Isabel will continue to drop by as much as 2 feet this summer while the U.S. Forest Service continues to search for a permanent way to keep the lake filled. The lake was constructed by CF&I Steel in the 1930’s and was filled once through the company’s water rights. Since then, it has been the responsibility of the U.S. Forest Service to provide water. Water rights issues are forcing the forest service to pass through flows on the St. Charles River, which have been lower than usual during a prolonged drought. About 60 acre-feet are expected to evaporate this year. Last year, the Colorado Division of Water Resources ordered a strict accounting of evaporative losses at Lake Isabel, which is located on the Pueblo-Custer County line north of Rye. Levels dropped 2 feet last year, and were restored in the fall when the forest service was able to lease water from the Pueblo Board of Water Works. The forest service is still looking for a long term solution and is evaluating several proposals, including one which would involve a land swap with the Pueblo Water Board at Clear Creek Reservoir in northern Chaffee County.
It was April 20th, 1914, when 18 people were killed in what is now referred to as the Ludlow Massacre. Coal miners in Colorado and other western states had been trying for years to join the United Mine Workers of America, but were opposed by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. The workers began striking and were evicted from their company-owned houses and set up a tent colony on public land in Ludlow. The site was surrounded by Colorado National Guard members. During one of the skirmishes that marked the strike, the miners’ tent colony was riddled with machine gun bullets and tents went up in flames. Eleven children and two women were killed as well as five striking coal miners. This Sunday, the memory of those who died will be honored at the 98th Annual Ludlow Memorial Service. The ceremony will take place at 10am at the Ludlow National Historic Monument, exit 27 off of Interstate 25, about 15 miles north of Trinidad. Everyone is welcome.
Due to the popularity of the program, the SLV Regional Medical Center, along with Evergreen Nursing Home and the San Luis Care Center, will sponsor a second presentation entitled “Food for Thought”, on Tuesday, June 26th, beginning at noon. The program is a complimentary “Lunch and Learn” event focused on dementia in the home. Evergreen’s speech therapist Rita Wooten will lead the presentation which will take place in the SLVRMC Conference and Education Center at 1919 Main Street in Alamosa. Please RSVP by calling Kathy Rogers at 719-587-1209, by Monday, June 25th.