Colorado’s News Roundup: Beaver Creek Fire spreads into Mount Zirkel Wilderness (06.29.16) | SummitDaily.com

Colorado’s News Roundup: Beaver Creek Fire spreads into Mount Zirkel Wilderness (06.29.16)

The Copper Mountain Fire Department's wild land engine sits parked during Beaver Creek Fire operations in northern Colorado near the Wyoming border. The fire has now spread to the Mount Zirkel Wilderness area and is only at 5-percent containment.

WILDFIRE

WALDEN, Colo. — Thick forest and beetle-killed trees are helping fuel a wildfire burning near the Colorado-Wyoming border.

The Beaver Creek Fire, which started June 19 northwest of Walden, Colorado, has spread to about 18 square miles as of Wednesday. It's crossed into the Mount Zirkel Wilderness and U.S. Forest Service spokesman Aaron Voos told Steamboat Today that could allow it to burn for some time.

He says firefighters will focus instead on battling the fire elsewhere in the Routt National Forest.

Smoke from the fire has spread east and created haze along the Front Range.

The fire is only 5-percent contained and full containment isn't expected until Aug. 1.

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US, nonprofit work with landowners to reduce wildfire risk

DENVER — The federal government and a nonprofit group say they'll work with private property owners to reduce the risk of major wildfires and protect rivers in the West.

The U.S. Forest Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the American Forest Foundation said Tuesday the $5 million program will include California, Colorado, Montana and Oregon.

Another project will be selected in the Four Corners region, which includes Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

The American Forest Foundation says the work targets areas at high risk of wildfires that could cause erosion and other problems for vital waterways.

The projects include areas in California's Sierra Nevada range, the South Platte watershed in the mountains west of Denver, the headwaters of the Missouri River in Montana and the Blue Mountains of Oregon.

CRIME

Colorado surgery tech to plead guilty in painkiller theft

DENVER — A hospital surgery technician accused of stealing painkiller syringes in Colorado, possibly exposing patients to HIV, plans to plead guilty.

Rocky Allen's lawyer filed a document Wednesday in federal court in Denver notifying a judge that he plans to change his plea without a deal with prosecutors.

The move comes about a month after prosecutors announced Allen had HIV. They urged surgical patients at the Denver-area hospital where he worked to be tested.

Authorities fear Allen may have replaced fentanyl needles intended for patients with syringes he previously used, making infection possible.

The case also led to warnings to patients at hospitals where he worked in Arizona, California and Washington to be tested.

Allen's lawyer has said he starting abusing drugs while serving as a Navy medic in Afghanistan.

Mother cited after 7 kids found alone in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado Springs police have cited a woman for child abuse after finding seven children left alone with no access to food.

KMGH-TV reports that police say they were looking for a suspect in a bicycle theft when they found the children.

Officers say no food was available to the kids and the house was filthy. They say the children were being left by themselves all day.

The Department of Human Services took custody of the children. Their ages were not released.

TRANSPORTATION

Scenic Rocky Mountain road to reopen to vehicles

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. — A scenic road that served as the original motor route into Rocky Mountain National Park's alpine tundra is open for the season.

The Old Fall River Road opened Wednesday morning. Park officials say drivers can expect restricted access this summer during high traffic periods.

The 9.4-mile road runs uphill from the Endovalley Picnic Area to Fall River Pass and Trail Ridge Road. It follows the steep slope of Mount Chapin's south face.

Vehicles longer than 25 feet and vehicles pulling trailers are prohibited on the one-way path.

The road will close Oct. 3 and reopen to pedestrians and bikers from Oct. 7 through Nov. 30 before reverting back to trail status.

The road, which was built in the early 1900s, follows a path once used by Indian hunters.