Top 5 stories on summitdaily.com week of June 10
Editor’s note: Social Calls is compiled from comments on stories posted to the Summit Daily’s Facebook page.
“HUGE thanks to all the firefighters and everyone who helped keep everyone and their homes and pets safe!” — Katrina Smith on “Buffalo Mountain Fire evacuations lifted at 3 p.m. for upper Mesa Cortina and Wildernest; pre-evacuations in place
“I feel so grateful and humbled by the efforts of the firefighters, Forest Service, Sheriff’s Department, and everyone else doing their best to keep my home and my being safe. Thank you all so much! Words can’t describe how grateful I am.” — Sarah Watson on “In Buffalo Mountain Fire, critical decisions saved at least two neighborhoods from destruction”
“There are no words to describe my gratitude for the truly outstanding and heroic efforts of our first responders in Summit Cty. And to those who prepared us so well - Thank you for saving our homes!!” — Michelle Groves Searing on “In Buffalo Mountain Fire, critical decisions saved at least two neighborhoods from destruction”
“I generally have not liked Gardner, but I appreciate him sticking up for our states choice to legalize as well as the economic growth that has come with it.” — Dustin Schaffer on “Colorado’s legalized pot would be federally lawful under bill introduced by Cory Gardner, Elizabeth Warren”
“There are better ways to address employee housing than constantly building. Stop with the build build build mentality. It fixes nothing.” — Jacob Deneault on “What’s the next step in Breckenridge workforce housing? The Block 11 Apartments”
Editor’s note: Stories in this list received the most page views on SummitDaily.com for the past week.
This was the first in a series of stories after the Buffalo Mountain Fire first broke out on Tuesday, June 12. Once the fire started, it very quickly spread to 91 acres, and evaucations were immediately issued to residents of the top half of Wildernest and Mesa Cortina, a high-density residential development. Summit Fire requested both hand crews and aircraft to assist with the blaze, and aircraft designed to combat wildfire were deployed to the scene. “We are fighting this with everything,” Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons said.
In total, 1,384 homes were evacuated from the Mesa Cortina and Wildernest neighborhoods above 20 Grand Road, and 1,160 residences were on pre-evacuation notice.
In this wrap-up story at the end of Day 1 of the Buffalo Mountain Fire, residents relay how quickly the felt the fire took off.
“I was absolutely shocked by how fast it spread,” said ilverthorne resident Jake Schulman, who had been hiking on Buffalo around the same time. “By the time we got to the car, it had grown tremendously, and we could see the flames. There were big black rolling clouds coming off it and it had gotten to the edge of the forest, right next to the neighborhood.”
Evacuated residents described neighbors helping neighbors, helping to gather pets and other items for those not home at the time.
In a morning update on Day 2 of the Buffalo Mountain Fire, firefighters had actively patrolled the neighborhoods near the Buffalo Mountain Fire area on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, and there was no overnight growth. Evacuated residents were allowed to return to homes temporarily to retrieve personal items.
While the Buffalo Mountain Fire peaked at 91 acres and forced the evacuation of nearly 1,400 homes, luckily it did not take any lives or damage any structures. One critical factor in saving the neighborhoods was the massive aerial response ordered by Summit Fire & EMS chief Jeff Berino, which involved four heavy air tankers, two very large DC-10 air tankers, and a half dozen Type I and Type III helicopters. The other key to saving Mesa Cortina and Wildernest were fuel breaks dug in by the U.S. Forest Service back in 2011. These fuel breaks — 500-foot-wide flat land buffers cleared of trees and other fuels — were created in response to the mountain pine beetle epidemic, which killed 3.4 million acres of forest across the state and half the trees in Summit County from 2006 to 2014. Dillon ranger Bill Jackson said these decisions made in the past helped save lives in the present, proving a big investment can lead to even larger returns in the future.
A Cervelo R3 carbon road bike valued at about $8,000 was stolen out of a bike corral at the annual Ride the Rockies event in Breckenridge. It the first recorded bike theft at Ride the Rockies in its more than 30 year history. Days after police released images of the suspect, the bike was found in Steamboat Springs after someone called the police and told them he had found the bike before hanging up. The bike was returned to its owner, Michael O’Brien, a Virginia resident who is participating in his 9th Ride the Rockies.
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