In Brief: Prescribed fires teed up; swatting bill passes state Senate; Wheeler works up new vision |

In Brief: Prescribed fires teed up; swatting bill passes state Senate; Wheeler works up new vision

Prescribed fires planned in Pitkin County

Fire managers from the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit are monitoring conditions as they plan several prescribed fires on federal lands in Eagle, Mesa, Pitkin, and Rio Blanco counties in the coming weeks.

In Pitkin County, prescribed fires are planned near Avalanche Creek, seven miles south of Carbondale, Braderich Creek, one mile west of Redstone, and Collins Creek, seven miles north of Aspen. White River National Forest officials say the Avalanche Creek and Collins Creek prescribed fires are planned as early as next week. Timing of these prescribed fires depends on several climate and soil moisture factors.

Prescribed fires are planned burns to reduce dense vegetation and other fuels with the aim of lowering the risk of large wildfires and stimulates new vegetation growth that benefits wildlife.

“We closely monitor weather and fuels prior to burning, and we will only ignite these prescribed fires if conditions are good for a safe, effective burn,” said Lathan Johnson, assistant fire management officer. “We are also watching weather conditions for optimal smoke dispersal to minimize impacts to nearby communities.”

Smoke may be seen from nearby communities and roads. Smoke should dissipate during the day but may remain on the valley floors as temperatures drop.

Fire managers are planning the following burns this spring on White River National Forest and Bureau of Land Management administered lands if conditions allow:

  • Avalanche Creek Prescribed Fire, Aspen-Sopris Ranger District (Pitkin County): Seven miles south of Carbondale, up to 500 acres.
  • Braderich Creek Prescribed Fire, Aspen-Sopris Ranger District (Pitkin County): One mile west of Redstone, up to 2,000 acres.
  • Collins Creek Prescribed Fire, Aspen-Sopris Ranger District (Pitkin County): Seven miles north of Aspen, up to 1,500 acres.
  • Muddy Sheep Prescribed Fire, Eagle Holy Cross Ranger District (Eagle County): Five miles north of Edwards, up to 2,000 acres.
  • Cottonwood Creek Prescribed Fire, BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office (Eagle County): Four miles north of Eagle, up to 460 acres
  • Farmers Canyon Prescribed Fire, BLM Grand Junction Field Office (Mesa County): 18 miles south of Grand Junction, up to 70 acres.
  • Palisade Watershed Prescribed Fire, BLM Grand Junction Field Office (Mesa County): Four miles southeast of Palisade, up to 410 acres.
  • Aldrich Lakes Prescribed Fire, Blanco Ranger District (Rio Blanco County): 14 miles northeast of Meeker, up to 3,000 acres

Fire managers have developed a detailed prescribed fire plan and obtained smoke permits from the state of Colorado for each planned burn. For more information, contact Lathan Johnson at 970-257-4819 or visit

Swatting bill passes state Senate

State Sen. Kevin Van Winkle‘s public safety swatting bill unanimously passed in the Colorado Senate. Senate Bill 249 would make the practice of falsely reporting an active shooter situation a class 6 felony. The bill would also classify a false emergency call that results in building lockdown or shelter-in-place order as a class 1 misdemeanor. 

In February, 17 Colorado schools were placed on lockdown after receiving a series of 911 calls from an individual threatening violence. “Swatting,” as the practice is called, is when an individual calls law enforcement and falsely claims an emergency situation with the intent of eliciting an emergency response.

“As lawmakers, it is our responsibility to protect our communities and prioritize public safety,” Van Winkle said. “Swatting is not a harmless prank and has serious potential to put lives at risk. This bill will hold those who make these calls accountable and send a strong message that these dangerous and irresponsible calls will not be tolerated.”

Wheeler works up new vision statement

The Wheeler Opera House has developed and identified a new vision statement: “Wheeler Vision: At the Wheeler Opera House, we set the stage for connections that create memories for our audiences, artists, and greater Aspen community.”

Over the past two years, with the landscape of performing arts ever-evolving, the Wheeler staff and advisory board engaged in a series of facilitated discussions to capture inputs and gather insights to inform potential directions for the Wheeler vision, Wheeler staff said. Many of the common themes and ideas presented aligned with the city of Aspen’s values of service, innovation, partnership, and stewardship. 

They said that throughout the process, the Wheeler team’s role in realizing the vision itself, both literally and figuratively, was captured in the use of the phrase “to set the stage.”  The work that happens, both behind and on the stage, makes possible the connections that we value within our community, they said. 

“The development of this statement represents an extraordinary amount of creativity, thoughtfulness, and collaboration,” said Wheeler Executive Director Lisa Rigsby Peterson. “Our entire Wheeler team is excited to begin internalizing our new vision, and we are also excited to share this new vision broadly over the coming months.”

For more information, visit

Sopris Lodge hosts presentation on palliative care

Sopris Lodge at Carbondale Senior Living will host Dr. Shane Lieberman, a palliative medicine physician from Glenwood Springs-based Valley View Hospital, to present “Understanding Palliative Care” on Thursday, April 20, at 3 p.m.

He will discuss how people living with serious illnesses can benefit from palliative care, which focuses on relieving the symptoms and stress of illness and improving the quality of life for individuals and their families. He will also address common questions and misperceptions and explain how to access these specialized medical services.

Sopris Lodge is at 295 Rio Grande Ave. in Carbondale. Refreshments will be served during the presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session for guests.

This event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required, and attendance will be limited to 25 registrants. Call 970-456-6871 or visit