Marble fire

On the first really warm day this spring, May 27, a resident began burning brush on his property above the town of Marble. It went out of control and smoke was observed by fire officials who drove up to investigate. They found that the resident had passed away from a heart attack while tending the blaze. A phone warning response quickly informed residents to evacuate.

Due to quick response by a helicopter from Rifle, the fire was easily controlled. Arriving in minutes, the helicopter went to Beaver Lake, scooped up water and dumped it on the fire. We thank our fire response team for their efficiency and feel pride and confidence in their performance.

But with the driest of summers that we can remember just ahead, let’s imagine another possible scenario. Just a year ago in Glenwood Canyon, a major fire erupted most likely from metal striking pavement and causing sparks. Possible causes included a tire rim after a blowout or chains dragging on pavement. Don’t forget the very large Christine Lake Fire near Basalt, caused by use of illegal ammo at the gun range. Do we want that crispy black look for the upper Crystal Valley?

On the Lead King Loop, ATVs bounce over the narrow rocky road, striking numerous boulders with their metal frames. There have been many recalls of ATVs in recent years for fuel system leaks causing fires and some ATVs carry spare gas in cans. If a fire broke out up there, unless smoke was observed in town, response time would not be so quick. Evacuation would not be as fast as it was on the interstate in Glenwood Canyon or the graded dirt road in Marble. Instead, with heavy two-way traffic on a narrow, steep, and rocky one lane road with big drop-offs, we could expect the worst: a traffic jam inhibiting both evacuation and fire response.

One of the most popular ATV models, the Polaris RZR, has had several hundred thousand vehicles recalled due to them catching fire. Multiple recalls on the same vehicles point out that the fixes did not fix what is actually a fundamental design failure.

When perceived fire danger increases, the fire department prohibits activities which could lead to fires including smoking and campfires. Is it too much to ask for proactive action? Or do we only respond after a disaster occurs?

Alex Menard


Sane gun laws

I am excited to have a gun enthusiast as our district representative. Representative Boebert is in a good position to bring forward policy that regulates lethal weapons, the same way we regulate lethal cars. She could change the United States’ standing in the world by initiating a procedure for the registration and licensing of all 300 million firearms in this country. To be licensed, as in trained and tested in the safety and use of a firearm, as a requisite of ownership, along with the licensing of each firearm, would ensure the nation is on the same page with the use of lethal weapons. When I’m driving, I want to know that every person coming at me has the same capability, mindset and rulebook that I do. To ensure both our safety, it should be the same with guns. Show us your wisdom Lauren, make our gun laws sane.

John Hoffmann


Live music again!

Last weekend, High Country Sinfonia presented a wonderful set of concerts in Basalt, Carbondale and Aspen. With the pandemic keeping us alone, hungry for the arts of all kinds and without live music, the first notes were all the sweeter. I found myself emotional throughout the concert, not just for the joy of hearing but as well for the excellent performance. There is a passion each player adds to the ensemble that enriches the whole sound and the audience’s enjoyment. I thoroughly loved the music played and their performance. Any time this group performs, I urge everyone to go hear them!

Deborah Barnekow

El Jebel


Invasive buzzing

A power drill, or a saw

Makes my teeth shudder.