In Brief: 403 fire ‘human caused’; Craig police fatally shoot suspect; work starts on Glenwood trail; Vail Pass closes overnight due to … snow |

In Brief: 403 fire ‘human caused’; Craig police fatally shoot suspect; work starts on Glenwood trail; Vail Pass closes overnight due to … snow

403 wildfire west of Colorado Springs grows to over 1,200 acres

The 403 fire had burned 1,286 acres as of Saturday afternoon, according to fire officials. Evacuation orders for residents in Park and Teller counties remained in effect Saturday. Fire containment is about 25%.

Authorities classified the 403 fire as “human caused,” saying it started on private land along Park County Road 403, southwest of the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Local, state, and federal resources are being used to fight the 403 fire.

A red-flag warning for critical fire danger remained in effect Saturday in the area of the 403 fire, where the relative humidity was about 15% and winds in the 25 to 35 mph range with gusts up to 50 mph.

A helicopter made several water drops on the fire Saturday morning before winds pickup up, and the helicopter was grounded for safety concerns, fire officials said. No structures have been burned, and no injuries or deaths reported in the fire.

Craig police kill suspect they say brandished firearm

Authorities are investigating a fatal shooting by police in Moffat County after a man with warrants allegedly brandished a firearm while trying to flee on Friday, March 31.

According to the Craig Police Department, at about 8:58 a.m. Friday, Craig police officers and the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office tried to catch up with the man outside the Cool Water Grille at 337 W. Victory Way.

According to police, the man was wanted on an outstanding warrant and ran from the officers when they tried to contact him.  

According to the police department, officers chased the subject, he displayed a firearm, and police shot him. The subject was taken to Memorial Regional Health, where he was later pronounced dead. Police reported that a firearm was recovered at the scene.

According to Memorial Regional Health, EMS responded to the scene Friday morning and took the man to the hospital emergency department, where he was declared deceased.

MRH also noted that crisis and safety advocates were engaged, and crisis advocacy, counseling, and support are available through Open Heart Advocates, who can be contacted at 970-824-2400.

No other community members or officers were injured in the shooting, and there is no ongoing threat to the public, according to the police department, which did not release the man’s name.

In accordance with Colorado law, the 14th Judicial Critical Incident Response Team is the lead investigative agency for this shooting and is being assisted by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. The investigation is ongoing.

Vail Pass closed over … lots of snow

An extended closure of Vail Pass which occurred on Friday evening and continued until the early morning hours on Saturday was not accident related, according to Colorado State Patrol.

State Patrol Trooper Gabriel Moltrer said the Colorado Department of Transportation called for the closure at 6:04 p.m. at mile marker 180 in East Vail.

“It was just the amount of snow they were getting up there; they wanted to close it down for safety,” he said. “When it’s a bad snowstorm and they’re not able to get the roads cleaned off, to keep motorists as safe as possible they’ll close the road.”

Work begins on new section of Glenwood trail

The first new section of the long-envisioned Lower Valley (LoVa) trail west of Glenwood Springs to be built in more than a decade is finally under construction.

Phase Three of the larger project is to include a new 700-foot segment from where trail now ends just beyond Mitchell Creek near the Audi dealership and the West Glenwood Sanitation District treatment plant.

Nicknamed the “Meet Me In The Middle” phase, the trail will extend west from Glenwood Springs, between the north side of the Colorado River and the south side of Interstate 70 heading toward South Canyon.

Due to the proximity of the construction to the interstate, there will be a single right-lane closure for all eastbound traffic on I-70 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the initial stages of construction. The lane closure is expected to wrap up in early May, and the trail portion is to be substantially complete by the end of the summer, LoVa Trail Group Executive Director Jeanne Golay said.

The existing trail is also currently closed to users beyond the Audi dealership.

CPW officials discuss trimming limit on elk hunt

As the intense winter weather continues, thousands of big game wildlife in Northwest Colorado have been forced to migrate farther west than ever before.

If the area populations continue to thin without return, Colorado Parks and Wildlife may decrease hunting license permits for the 2023 season. 

The mortality rates of big game are the highest the area has seen since the mid-1980s, according to CPW, and what started as a catastrophic winter for younger animals has begun to affect the adult antelope, deers, and elk, as well. 

“This has just been a tough winter, and the other thing about it is we’re really not done yet,” said CPW Area 6 Wildlife Manager Bill deVergie. “The longer this continues, the more snow and cold temperatures will continue to take a higher demand on the animals.”

Typically, the animals feed throughout the summer and fall to store up enough body fat to endure a long winter. This year, the snowpack on the ground has made it difficult for the animals to get the nutrients required to survive. 

Using data collected throughout the winter season and in anticipation of more losses throughout the spring, CPW biologists are cautious in their plan for 2023 hunting license recommendations.

Biologists, including deVergies, are suggesting a 40% decrease in licenses compared to the typical amount distributed annually. The winter impact has become so drastic, he said there’s no other solution. 

Two bodies found in Granby RV site

Granby Police Department discovered two bodies inside a commercial vehicle parked at a Sun Outdoors RV site on Friday afternoon.

Police were called to the scene for a welfare check at approximately 1 p.m. on March 31 where they found two deceased occupants in a commercial transport vehicle.

The identities of the deceased and their cause of death have not been released at this time, and the investigation is ongoing by the Granby Police Department and the Grand County Coroner’s Office.

This is believed to be an isolated incident and there are no public safety concerns, according to police.

An autopsy is scheduled for next week to determine the cause of death.