1948: Area in Danger of Forest Fires | AspenTimes.com

1948: Area in Danger of Forest Fires

In celebrating the 125th anniversary of The Aspen Times, we are printing a story or two from each year the newspaper has existed 125 historical selections in 125 days. This series is in conjunction with the Aspen Historical Society.Area in Danger of Forest Fires “Aspen should never forget how dependent she is on her forestlands,” Ranger Charles Fifield warned this week. “A small fire in the vicinity could grow quickly to such proportions that it would ruin Aspen as a tourist center for many years to come.””This season has been dry, so far, and every citizen of Pitkin County should remember to take special precautions against fire. Because there has not been a woodland fire of any proportions in this district for some time there is danger that people will be tempted to be careless.”Plans have been made for immediate mobilization of manpower should an alarm be turned in. Under the direction of Ranger Fifield, Sheriff Otto Johnson, Floyd Callahan, and others, tools and transportation will be immediately available.The bright red shed recently erected on the lot on which the fire siren is located contains fire fighting equipment for thirty-five men, shovels, axes, pulaskis, backpack pumps and so forth. The forest fire signal, in Aspen, is four blasts of the siren. Ranger Fifield asks that all Aspen men come to his office in the Elks building immediately if the signal is given so that a sufficient force can be made available for any emergency. (May 27)Chicago Men Purchase RanchMr. Walter Paepcke announced this week that he and Mr. J. V. Spachner, vice president of the Container Corporations of America have bought the Biggs-Kurtz ranch and they will operate the property as a going ranch until an airport is definitely established on that property or some other.Mr. Paepcke stated that the purchase of this property was solely to protect the preliminary negotiations now in the mill for the establishment of an Aspen Airport.The portion of the property to be used for airport purposes lays immediately west of the highway and very closely parallels the highway, approximately two miles northwest of Aspen on the highway. Some of the best of the agricultural or cultivated portions of the ranch must be used for the airstrip. The proposed landing strip will be approximately 300 feet wide by 6400 feet in length.While no air line has committed itself to establishing an airport in Aspen, representatives of two lines have visited here. Mr. John M. Lewis, vice president in charge of operations for Monarch Air Lines visited the proposed site and several of the citizens who are interested in the port. Representing the Continental Air Lines, Mr. R. F. McKee, airport engineer, also visited Aspen and met with the City Council and talked over the proposed airport and the procedure the city officials would need to take in applying for a government grant for both land and improvements. (June 3)

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