Weber Fire still smoldering

Keywords: Poll question,

The Weber Fire, which started June 22 before being contained July 5, is still not completely out the Bureau of Land Management is reporting.

Shannon Borders, BLM public affairs specialist for the Southwest District, said there are still smoldering coal piles to the north end of the area that had burned.

She said residents in the area have been calling to report that they have seen smoke and sometimes flames in the area.

She said residents have reported seeing flames at night, but added it poses no threat to life or property.

“We are monitoring them and are letting them burn out because there is no danger and they are on steep terrain,” she said, adding it would be difficult for firefighters to get to the area.

With the recent fire activity Borders said it is not a surprise the public would be concerned anytime they see smoke.

“We are aware, and we are monitoring this, and there is no threat for (loss of) life or property,” she said.

She said there are a few ways to extinguish smoldering coal piles, including smothering them, actively fighting them or letting them burn themselves out.

Borders added that the property where the coal piles are smoldering is on private property.

Borders also said the BLM is requesting funds to rehabilitate 14,000 acres in order to rebuild infrastructure to manage its grazing allotments.

On a positive note, Borders said Mother Nature has really helped the burn areas recover, and mentioned green land is already reappearing in some areas.

The Department of Justice on Thursday issued a press release about the juvenile who has been charged with two counts of juvenile delinquency in relation to starting the 10,000-acre Weber Fire.

The charges were filed on Oct. 29, and the defendant will receive a summons to appear in federal court in Durango on a date yet to be determined.

The complaint alleges the juvenile willfully set the fire that caused damage on lands owned by the United States Government. Specifically, the complaint alleges that the juvenile gathered up leaves and underbrush around a bush, and using a cigarette lighter, lit the underbrush causing it to burn and ignite nearby timber, all located on Bureau of Land Management land in Weber Canyon in Montezuma County.

The press release stated the charges in the information are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

michaelm@cortezjournal.com