Haze over Summit County blew in from Idaho fire | SummitDaily.com

Haze over Summit County blew in from Idaho fire

New briefs:

Haze over Summit from Idaho fire

A haze and smoky smell that settled over Summit County following a rain storm Thursday afternoon was brought in by a low pressure system from a group of wildfires in Idaho, officials said.

At present time, there were no flames reported in Summit or the surrounding areas and the local wildfire danger rating remains set to low.

The fires in Idaho believed to be responsible for the smell of smoke and slight haze in the air Thursday have been burning for over a month, according to news sources in the area.

Idaho news outlets report the largest blaze, located west of Challis, has consumed more than 20,000 acres and is only 40 percent contained.

Nearby, the Papoose Fire has now scorched over 9,000 acres since it was sparked July 8, according to the Times-News, a publication in southern Idaho. The lightning-ignited McCan Fire north of Fairfield had been whipped up by wind Thursday afternoon and was threatening homes.

Most of Idaho and Oregon parts of north-central Nevada and north western Utah remained under a red flag warning Thursday. The National Weather Service alert indicates the potential for aggressive fire behavior. Colorado did not have any red flag warnings in place at press time.

The weather in Summit County is expected to remain wet into Friday, with a 40 percent chance of precipitation and thunderstorms in the forecast after 1 p.m.

EMS scores grant for new ambulance

An $87,000 grant was awarded to the Summit County Ambulance Service from the state of Colorado to help offset the cost of a upgrading an aging vehicle and to upgrade a patient loading system.

“This is great news for our community and SCAS,” Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier stated in a release. “This is great news for our … team despite the funding challenges.”

The grant will allow the patient care compartment in the back of the ambulance to be refurbished and a chassis to be replaced, which is 30 percent less expensive than buying an entirely new vehicle.

The ambulance service, which has always operated entirely off of revenue from fees charged to patients, is currently facing a $400,000 deficit as fewer patients are insured and health insurance policies are changing.

“Tiven our financial picture, capital replacements such as ambulances have been difficult to accomplish and the EMTS Grant Program is critical to our ability to maintain a safe and reliable fleet,” SCAS director Marc Burdick stated in the release. “Remounting existing ambulances versus buying new vehicles is an efficient and less expensive way to replace ambulances.”

The vehicle that will be refurbished was scheduled for replacement in 2012.

The ambulance is set to be remounted in early December and ready to return to service by mid-February, according to the statement.

Deputies, citizen recognized for life saving effort

Six Summit County Sheriff’s Office and a local resident were honored Wednesday for saving the life of a man who was found hypothermic and stuck in the snow near Snake River Inlet off Swan Mountain Road in April.

Tomaz Kipta, a nearby resident, called 911 just before 2 a.m. April 5 after he heard someone crying for help while standing on his back porch, according to a sheriff’s office statement on the award.

Deputies SJ Hamit, Jeff Wilson, Daric Gutzwiller, Mark Gafari, Robert Pearce and Sgt. Scott Wagner responded to the scene and began searching on foot in the area around the frozen Lake Dillon where they heard a faint voice calling for help. They found a man in the snow roughly 300 yards from Swan Mountain Road.

The man wasn’t wearing a coat or shoes and appeared to be intoxicated. It was 30 degrees with some wind and his torn socks had not protected his feet from the snow and ice.

When authorities contacted him he was only able to mumble his first name and the fact that he had been out on the ice for roughly three hours. He had cuts all over his hands and the skin on the bottom of his feet had been rubbed away.

The deputies got the man out by packing down the snow to create a path back to the roadway and transferred him to an ambulance, according to the statement.

“The conscientious attitude and professional demeanor exemplified by these deputies typifies the overall approach to public service all deputies of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office strive to attain,” Sheriff John Minor said at a ceremony where Life Saving Awards were presented to the deputies involved and a Citizen Commendation was given to Kipta. “Without their selfless actions that night, a citizen’s life would surely have been lost.”

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