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News in Brief

ASPEN A brother and sister from the valley were arrested last week in connection with prescription drug fraud. Elsa Gonzalez-Murillo, 33, and Victor Murillo, 23, both face two counts of forgery, one count of conspiracy to commit forgery and one count of criminal impersonation. Police reports state that the two were visiting numerous pharmacies in the valley to get prescriptions of percocet, an opiate that falls in the same legal category as methamphetamine and cocaine. Murillo is in the Pitkin County Jail, in Aspen, on $7,500 bond. Gonzalez-Murillo is out on a personal recognizance bond of $7,500.

BASALT A team of federal agencies plans to undertake a prescribed burn Wednesday, one mile northwest of Basalt that will cover about 1,200 acres, the U.S. Forest Service announced Tuesday.The Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit will ignite the burn over the next several days to reduce the amount of smoke in the midvalley. The blaze is intended to improve wildlife habitat and enhance defensible space around rural and urban communities by reducing fuel loads in shrubs and brush.The prescribed burn has been dubbed the Roaring Fork burn. It could extend into next week, depending on weather conditions. Federal and local firefighters will monitor it.The Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit consists of the Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction field offices of the Bureau of Land Management; the Grand Valley Ranger District of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison national forests; the White River National Forest; and the Colorado National Monument. The unit encompasses more than 4.5 million acres of federally managed land.

High temperatures in March devoured Colorado’s snowpack, according to the latest measurements by the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service.The statewide snowpack fell from 92 percent of average on March 1 to 75 percent of average on April 1, the agency reported. Significant decreases were recorded in all of the state’s major river basins.The Roaring Fork basin was at 78 percent of average on Tuesday, although snowpack varied drastically at seven measuring sites. East of Aspen the snowpack stood at 92 percent. It was in the 80 percentile in the upper Fryingpan Valley but only 40 percent of average in the lower Fryingpan.The NRCS reported that snowpack totals are now below average in all of the state’s major river basins for the first time this season.


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