News in Brief
November 21, 2005
Well blaze brief but smokyRIFLE – No one was injured during a brief but smoky fire at a natural-gas well site southeast of Rifle Monday morning.Jesse Smith, acting oil and gas liaison for Garfield County, said the fire reportedly occurred at a fracturing pit at a Bill Barrett Corp. well off County Road 315, or Mamm Creek Road.Well fracturing is done following drilling, and involves injecting pressurized fluids down the well to break up underground formations and improve flow of gas.Rob Jones, of the Rifle Fire Protection District, said the fire started around 10 a.m. and was extinguished by about 10:15 a.m.”It was out by the time we got there. There was quite a bit of smoke when we got dispatched,” he said.A cloud of smoke south of Rifle was easily visible from as far away as Silt.Jones said the fire was confined to the pit. He said the cause of the blaze was still under investigation.Smith said the fire is believed to have been accidental, and it wasn’t purposely started to flare off substances in the pit.A Barrett spokesman could not be reached for comment Monday.(From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent)Another scenic and historic byway designatedDENVER (AP) – The Colorado Transportation Commission has designated a 57-mile route along the Arkansas River as the state’s 25th scenic and historic byway.The Collegiate Peaks route connects Granite, Buena Vista, Salida and Poncha Springs via U.S. 24, 285 and 50 and Colorado 291.Aquamarine, the state’s gemstone, is present along the route, which runs past several 14,000-foot peaks.Bark beetle bill introducedDENVER (AP) – Sen. Wayne Allard has introduced his own measure to fight forest damage wreaked by bark beetles.Allard, R-Colo., and Sen. Gordon H. Smith, R-Ore., on Monday announced legislation aimed at improving federal responses to damage from wildfires, beetle infestation and other natural events.Bark beetles burrow under bark and leave stands of rusty brown pines, leaving behind dead wood that can fuel forest fires.Allard said his bill would require prompt evaluations of forest damage and provide expedited timelines for forest rehabilitation projects.It would require forest management plans to be updated to address post-fire recovery goals before a wildfire takes place; would give 5 percent of revenues from timber killed by fire to communities affected by catastrophic events; and would apply reforestation requirements to forests available for commercial timber harvest.Earlier this year, Reps. Mark Udall and John Salazar, both D-Colo., introduced legislation that would streamline environmental review and approval of projects to get rid of infested trees and stem the spread of the insects.That bill also would allocate $5 million a year for five years from oil and gas royalties for grants for wildlife protection plans.