The Garfield County Coroner’s office reports a 9-year-old boy died at the top of Hanging Lake Trail Monday afternoon. The initial dispatches around 4:00 indicated the boy had fallen, suffering severe cuts and hitting his head… An adult in the party apparently attempting CPR. Crews responded to that scene when they got the call just as they were wrapping up the rescue of 9 people from an island in the Roaring Fork River. That late child and his family were said to have been from the front range, according to Coroner Robert Glassmire.
The incident local responders were concluding work on when the call of that boy’s fall came in, had the Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District working with several other agencies Monday afternoon, when those 9 rafters got stuck. They ended up on a small island in the Roaring Fork River, near Aspen Glen. They’d become stranded there, when their raft got trapped under logs in the middle of the river. All were wearing life preservers. The Carbondale firefighters worked with fellow responders more than 3 hours to rescue the 7 adults and 2 kids. They used a separate boat on a tether to move those folks to another nearby island, then helped them cross shallow water in that area to get safely back to the riverbank. No one was hurt. When you’re out on the water, be sure to wear those life preservers as this group did, and learn all you can before you go about where you’re going and the river conditions.
For all that about safety on the water and the rivers running at their highest levels of the year, the reality off those bodies of water is that most of western Colorado is already very dry going into summer. The federal Bureau of Land Management reminds everyone that wildfire danger is high, and everyone needs to be cautious outdoors. 3 major fires were burning over the weekend, and as one got contained another cropped up and was being monitored. There was the Hunter Fire about 20 miles southwest of Meeker… the Dead Dog Fire some 10 miles north of Rangely, and the Temple Fire in Moffat County, about 25 miles west of Craig. Hunter, near Meeker, had burned nearly a thousand acres as of Sunday, and was 30 percent contained. The Dead Dog near Rangely wasn’t contained at all at that point, but had only scorched about 40 acres. As of late Monday, it had ballooned to almost a thousand, also. US 40 was closed from Dinosaur to the Utah border, too. Moffat firefighters and the Colorado Interagency department got full containment around the Temple Fire Sunday night. That area’s not all OK yet though either… another blaze that was about 60 percent contained late Sunday was about 10 miles west of there– the Cross Fire 35 miles west of Craig. Those areas farther northwest of us were under a Red Flag Warning through Monday, but of course a new one could be issued anytime.
Late Monday afternoon, Aspen City Council did what many had anticipated, approving a new ordinance that restricts the sale of tobacco products and even e-cigarettes to those 21 years of age and older. Mayor Steve Skadron points to the city’s general health consciousness as a key reason to raise the age for tobacco sales from 18 to 21. Nationwide statistics note that 90% of smokers start the habit even before turning 18. The longer you can delay that start, the less likely it is someone will ever pick up smoking as a habit.
If you think the “upper” end of the Roaring Fork Valley is escaping the inconvenience of road issues, sorry, no such luck. Here’s advance warning– CDOT says it’s going to have crews at Aspen, at the entrance to the city on Highway 82, for a couple days late this month to repave a short chunk of the highway, from the Castle Creek bridge to Aspen’s first part of the S-curve. It’s small, but is going to cause big traffic trouble, since there is no other way into town for commuters. Those days will be the 26th & 27th, Monday & Tuesday 2 weeks from now. The road damage that’ll be repaired with that paving is so bad, one local put up a sign to warn drivers to steer around it. Traffic delays could run half an hour to an hour. That’s on the 26th & 27th.
And remember Aspen Valley Hospital has its big yearly health fair this week. There’ll be screenings and such available 8:30 ‘til 11:30 Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings. Sign up on the web at aspen hospital dot org, slash health, dash fairs. You can pay for your tests when you get to the hospital on the actual day. We’ll be reminding you the rest of the week on the Community Desk, starting later today here on The Mammoth.