News in Brief
It’s for recyclables, not garbage!BASALT Someone is dumping bags of garbage, tires, cans of paint and couches at the Basalt recycling center, and Pitkin County officials are concerned.It costs the county money to cart the refuse from the recycle center to the county landfill, and officials from the landfill on Tuesday asked the commissioners for additional cameras to monitor and prosecute offenders.”People just drop their trash off. We don’t know who it is,” said Chris Hoofnagle, solid waste manager for Pitkin County. “It’s just been getting worse lately.”Hoofnagle’s crew make regular Monday pickups of garbage at the Basalt site, but crews have been making two trips per week to clean up the extra trash.”People are getting free dumping,” which can mean as much as $50 for large items such as couches, Hoofnagle said.A camera at the Basalt site records vehicles coming in and out, but Hoofnagle hopes to put in another that can catch license plates and lead to eventual police prosecution.”It’s disgusting. It’s dirty. It smells. It’s ‘yuck!’ down there,” Commissioner Dorothea Farris said. “Somebody has to enforce the fines.”Commissioners suggested adding a sign telling would-be litterbugs they’re on camera. The board also encouraged cooperation between landfill officials and Basalt’s public works department.Both recycling centers in Aspen and Basalt are slated for possible future redevelopment. (Charles Agar)Forest Service limits firesGLENWOOD SPRINGS Fires will be restricted throughout most of the White River National Forest except in grates at developed campgrounds starting Saturday, June 30, the agency announced Wednesday.National Forest lands in Rio Blanco County are exempt, but it affects the National Forest in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties.”Our desire to eliminate the possibility of a human-caused fire is very important with the conditions we have right now,” said White River National Forest Supervisor Maribeth Gustafson.Federal fire management officials hope that by reducing the possibility of human caused fires, they will have more resources to suppress lightning caused fires that may threaten communities. Forest Service officials reminded people, with Fourth of July approaching, that fireworks are prohibited on forest lands at all times.The Forest Service’s fire ban prohibits campfires in backcountry areas outside campgrounds. Gas stoves are allowed.Smoking is banned except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or in a 3-foot-diameter barren area free of vegetation.No welding or operation of an acetylene or other torch with an open flame is allowed. Internal combustion engines in any mechanical device in the forest must have a spark arresting device.The fire restrictions will remain in place until further notice and could expand to include campfires at developed campgrounds. Violation of fire restrictions is punishable as a class B misdemeanor, by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six months or both.If a wildfire occurs in violation of this order, violators could also be charged with the full or partial cost of fighting the fire under certain circumstances.Similar fires restrictions have been enacted on lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and in private lands in Mesa, Garfield, Pitkin and Summit counties.
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“Because of the pandemic, I mean, it’s like, people are even more excited, — they’re like, ‘alright, give me five boxes instead of two,’” said Heather Merritt Gentry, the troop leader for Aspen Girl Scout Brownie Troop 15014.