Maneuvering through a tight spot

Ron Gardner maneuvers through a tight section Sunday in Howard. Gardner made it cleanly through the section to score zero points, the best possible score.

Wildfire hit the headlines three times in April as a controlled burn got out of control, burned along the valley bottom and smoldered before reigniting.

There was no loss of structures due to the fires.

While not unusual at the beginning of the fire season, looking back the fire was noteworthy considering that by autumn the Decker Fire would burn nearly 9,000 acres of forest near Methodist Mountain.

Fire took off out of control from a ditch fire April 4 near the Post Office Ranch, prompting responses from South Arkansas and Chaffee County fire protection districts.

Chaffee County Fire Protection District Chief Robert Bertram said the fire was the first of the season.

Fire once again sparked an evacuation April 7 when it was fanned up by winds.

County officials told residents to evacuate their homes in an area bordered by CR 140 to the north, CR 253 to the south, CR 250 to the west and U.S. 285 to the west.

Residents were allowed to return around 7 p.m. when the fire was under control and mostly out.

However, by April 12 the fire continued smoldering in a layer of peat.

Firefighters worked with local landowners to flood the field. CCFPD hosted a meeting about the wildfire, which burned 46 acres.

CCFPD Battalion Chief Kent Maxwell said the public was not in danger, although the fire could flare up again.

Also in April, KHEN radio honored Jane Whitmer, Kate McClelland, Jo Boatright, Tina Gramann and Bonnie McDonald as “Women Who Rock.”

Each woman was featured with stories about who they are and the reasons they were chosen for the honor.

Athena Kintgen was named Boys & Girls Clubs Colorado Youth of the Year.

Kintgen won the title when she submitted a speech in which she shared the difficulties of overcoming her hearing disability and the hardship of growing up with an alcoholic father.

She delivered the speech and scored the highest of 14 competitors.

Chaffee County commissioners made the decision not to join 35 other counties that declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuary counties. The response came when they met with Sheriff John Spezze during a meeting in which they discussed Colorado House Bill 19-1177, the Red Flag Bill.

Commissioners voted to uphold the county Planning Commission’s decision to deny the limited impact review for Alison Brown’s Antelope Road kennel permit.

A few days later it was reported that Brown filed a lawsuit against Chaffee County for damages, spurred by the county’s denial of a certificate of occupancy for her 11600 Antelope Road home in January 2018.

She filed the suit on March 28, the day after a special meeting of the Chaffee County commissioners to address issues pertaining to the Chaffee County Planning Commission’s decisions on permits for Brown’s outfitting facility and kennel at 11600 Antelope Road.

The Colorado Running Hall of Fame honored Salida High School senior Camden Gillis at its annual banquet in Denver.

Gillis was one of six high school athletes recognized for their athletic, academic and community achievements.

Salida Police Chief Russ Johnson suspended downtown parking enforcement after a federal appeals court ruled that the practice of chalking tires to track how long they have been parked is unconstitutional.

Central Colorado Conservancy received the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Southeast Region Partner of the Year Award for 2019.

The award was announced at the annual Partners in the Outdoors conference in Breckenridge.

News Editor Brian McCabe contributed to this story.

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