Fire south of Rifle still smoldering

A small fire that started Sunday continues to smolder approximately 10 miles south of Rifle.

The Middle Mamm Creek Fire, which is about a one-tenth of an acre, started from a natural ignition and is not threatening property. The decision was made to have firefighters keep watch on the fire and use it to reduce accumulated fuels and improve forest health and wildlife habitat.

"Weather and fuel conditions this year are moderate, and we can allow fire to resume its natural role in the landscape," said Sarah Hankens, Rifle district ranger. "We have the opportunity to benefit natural resources with a low level of risk."

Fuel conditions and weather will impact the fire's behavior, and at times smoke may be visible south of Interstate 70 near Rifle.

State parks free to military, veterans

All active-duty military and veterans will have free admission to all 41 Colorado state parks during the entire month of August.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife program is in appreciation to those who serve and have served our country.

"We deeply appreciate our active duty service members and veterans for their service to our nation," said Dan Prenzlow, director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. "There's no way to ever thank our military members enough for their service and sacrifice, but CPW is proud to offer free entry to our parks this month as a chance to get out and spend time in Colorado's great outdoors."

All eligible military members will receive a hangtag and pass after establishing proof of service.

All other activities such as fishing and camping still require a valid license or reservation.

Plague confirmed in prairie dogs

COMMERCE CITY — Plague has been confirmed in prairie dogs at several sites in the Denver suburb of Commerce City, prompting officials to close some parks and take other precautions.

The Tri-County Health Department said Thursday that prairie dog burrows are being sprayed with insecticide to kill fleas that could transmit the disease to the rodents, people and pets.

The health department said Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge and Prairie Gateway Open Space are temporarily closed.

The department said parking at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, where the Colorado Rapids play, is restricted to asphalt lots, and a planned fireworks display after Saturday's game has been postponed.

Tri-County Health Director Dr. John M. Douglas Jr. says plague is common in Colorado prairie dog colonies and can be managed safely with insecticides.

Body of girl swept away by river located

ASPEN — Colorado authorities located the body of teenager who was missing after being swept away by a river.

The Aspen Daily News reports the 16-year-old girl was taken by the Roaring Fork River while swimming Wednesday.

The girl's body was located Thursday near the Devil's Punchbowl, a popular summer recreation spot about 9 miles east of Aspen.

The identity of the Kansas resident was withheld pending positive identification.

The Pitkin County Sheriff's Office received a report at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday that a young woman crossing the river was swept downstream by the strong current.

Authorities said emergency responders searched the riverbank until nightfall and resumed the search Thursday morning.

Officials say a limited search was conducted after nightfall using night-vision equipment.

Polis: Global warming threatens health

BOULDER — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said global warming is threatening the nation's security, economy, public health and environment.

Colorado Politics reports the Democratic governor testified Thursday before the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, which is drafting a national climate action plan.

The committee held a hearing at the University of Colorado. Earlier this week, committee members toured three federal laboratories in Boulder that address climate issues: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Polis said climate change is hurting Colorado's water supply and environment and its agricultural and recreation industries.

He told the committee that Colorado will help retrain workers at coal-fired power plants who lose their jobs as the state pushes utilities to switch to renewable power.

Worker dead after oil tank fire

WINDSOR — One worker is dead after a fire ignited at an oil tank in northern Colorado.

The fire broke out at the Great Western Oil and Gas tank battery east of Windsor on Wednesday night.

The chief of Windsor Severance Fire Rescue, Kris Kazian, said firefighters found an empty Great Western work truck when they arrived, so several climbed on top of one the other tanks to assess the situation while others searched on the ground for people.

The worker was found unconscious and unresponsive on top of a nearby tank.

He was declared dead at the scene by the coroner.

Kazian said the man is believed to have been at the site alone performing maintenance.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Cops arrest teen in double slaying

COLORADO SPRINGS — Police arrested a 17-year-old boy in connection with a shooting that killed two people near a Colorado Springs school.

The teen, whose name has not been released, was taken into custody Tuesday and is facing two counts of first-degree murder in the June 29 shooting that left 18-year-old Kevin Santana-Villa and 22-year-old Diego Cruz-Aceves dead.

Police found Santana-Villa's body on the running track at Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy after neighbors reported hearing shots fired.

Cruz-Aceves was found severely wounded nearby and died at a hospital.

Investigators have said it appears two groups of people were involved in an altercation on the school's track.

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