Posts tagged hazards
City prepares for snowfall and reminds people to remove snow from sidewalks
Current weather forecasts indicate that an incoming storm may produce accumulated snow in Boulder beginning the night of Wednesday, Oct. 24, and continuing through Thursday, Oct. 25. The City of Boulder is preparing snow response crews in advance. Community members are asked to be mindful of the conditions, to prepare their vehicles as appropriate and to plan for extended commute times.
Snow Removal on City Streets
The city’s Public Works Department has snow crews on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to changing weather conditions. During snowstorms, 16 plow trucks are active on Boulder’s streets. Six of the trucks distribute a liquid deicer, four spreader trucks distribute traction materials, and six trucks can distribute either material. Fifteen of the plow trucks drive predetermined routes while one “floater” truck responds to problem areas.
During the snowstorm, the city may spot-treat bridges and overpasses as needed to help reduce the buildup of ice and snow. Depending on the weather conditions, a liquid deicer may also be applied to streets and multi-use paths to continue melting the snowpack throughout the snowstorm. Spreader trucks will dispense a crystallized deicer for traction, where appropriate.
consistent with other Front Range communities, the city does not plow all residential streets since Boulder’s sunny climate typically melts most snow within a day or two and because residential plowing would increase costs by an estimated 200 percent. Plowing residential streets would also block driveways and cars parked on the streets. However, problem areas like particularly icy slopes, blocked storm drains or impassable sidewalks can be reported to the city for response. To report roadway or path problems, call the Street and Bikeway Maintenance Hotline at 303-413-7177.
Sidewalk Snow Removal
The Boulder Police Department is responsible for enforcing the city’s sidewalk snow removal ordinance. Property owners, tenants and landlords must clear their sidewalks within 24 hours after snow stops falling. Official snowfall reports are available on the National Weather Service website. Failure to remove snow from sidewalks before the 24-hour deadline may result in a summons and/or an abatement process. Abatement includes the use of a private snow removal contractor to clear the sidewalk. The property owner will be charged a $50 administrative fee, along with the contractor’s fee for removing the snow. To report a sidewalk snow violation, call Code Enforcement at 303-441-3333. Snow should be shoveled onto landscaping, not into the streets. Pushing snow into the streets creates hazards for bike commuters and pedestrians, and gutters clogged with snow may cause ice to form on the sidewalks.
The ICEBUSTERS program pairs residents who are physically unable to clear snow from their sidewalks with someone who can do the work for them. Seasonal and substitute volunteers are needed for this community program. To volunteer or learn more, please call 303-443-1933.
For more information about the city’s snow removal or for winter driving tips, visit www.bouldercolorado.gov/
USA Pro Challenge cycling race coming to Boulder County on Saturday
Race will prompt road closures and create limited parking in areas; spectators advised to prepare for changing weather and possible hazards
Boulder County, Colo. – Stage 6 of the USA Pro Challenge cycling race begins Saturday morning in Golden and, after traveling through the city of Boulder, towns of Nederland and Lyons, and the mountain communities of western Boulder County, finishes atop Flagstaff Mountain on Saturday afternoon.
The race will impact state highways, county roads and city streets. Safety patrols will be facilitating rolling closures as the race moves through Boulder County. Major roadways to be impacted include U.S. 36 and state highways 7, 72, 93 and 119. Visit www.COTrip.org for up-to-date road closure information.
Parking and Transportation
Paid on-street parking is available as well as paid event parking in city garages and parking lots and at the University of Colorado campus. Residents are encouraged to use alternate transportation on race day, as large crowds are expected. Increased bus service is available to and within Boulder. Visitwww.USAProBoulder.com for details on parking, bus and bike routes, and bike corrals.
Spectators, especially those watching the race in the mountain areas of western Boulder County, are advised to be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions and the potential risk of lightning and flooding. Check weather forecasts prior to heading outdoors and bring warm and rain-proof clothing in addition to sun protection and drinking water. Wildfires also remain a risk in the foothills and mountain areas, so stay alert to any emergency notifications during the race.
For more on the race, including an interactive stage map, schedule of events and information about the finish on Flagstaff Mountain, visitwww.USAProBoulder.com.
OSMP opens Fern Canyon Trail to Bear Peak
The City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) department announces that Fern Canyon Trail to the summit of Bear Peak is now open to hiking. Users are reminded that they must remain on trail at all times. South Boulder Peak, Bear Peak West Ridge and the upper portion of Shadow Canyon remain closed due to hazards and trail damage related to the Flagstaff Fire.
Bear Peak is a popular hiking destination, according to Eric Stone, Division Manager for OSMP. “We wanted to get that opened as soon as possible. Fern Canyon was the least affected trail,” said Stone. “There is still a lot of work to do on the other trails, but our crews are engaged in projects they can’t just walk away from. As soon as those projects are completed, we will start working on the trails in the burn area. It is common practice among land management agencies to allow burned areas to recover naturally. It may be several months before we can have all of the trails opened.”
The Trail & Area Closures Web page has detailed info and a link to a photo gallery from the fire and inside the burn area as it looks today:http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1158&Itemid=2552#trail
Direct link to the gallery page: http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=16949&Itemid=4235
For trail updates and questions about closures on OSMP properties, please call 303-441-3440 or visit www.osmp.org.
School violence can be prevented,
University of Colorado expert says
The tragic school shooting that occurred Feb. 27 at a suburban Cleveland high school is another reminder that communities can and must take action to prevent school violence, according to Delbert Elliott, a nationally renowned authority on school safety and juvenile violence at the University of Colorado Boulder.
“A key prevention strategy is good surveillance and good intelligence,” said Elliott, founding director of the CU-Boulder Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence. “We need to enlist our students, our teachers and our adults in the community to help us and ask them to notify the police or the sheriff if they see something unusual or have heard that something is about to happen.”
In 80 percent of the school shootings examined by the U.S. Secret Service, someone knew the event was going to take place, Elliott said. “Nationally, we know right now of a dozen or more events for which we got a tip and were able to intervene early so the planned event actually never took place, which is, I think, our very, very best security.” Some of these plans were on the same level of violence as the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School, he said.
In Colorado, there’s a toll-free Safe2Tell reporting system for students and others to call in anonymous tips about safety concerns, the result of collaboration between the CU-Boulder center and the Colorado Attorney General’s office. All tips are treated seriously, and when combined with other sources of information, often result in some kind of intervention. Since 2004, Safe2Tell has received almost 10,000 calls.
From 2004 through 2010, follow-up data indicate that 83 percent of all Safe2Tell incidents resulted in a positive intervention or action. These tips resulted in 415 formal investigations, 359 counseling referrals, 298 prevention/intervention plans, 324 potential suicide interventions, 312 school disciplinary actions, 74 arrests and 28 prevented school attacks.
“An equally critical key to security is to create a welcoming environment in which all students feel that they’re respected, that the rules are applied uniformly to all students, and students feel safe,” Elliott said. “When students feel that some children can get away with bad behavior and others can’t, and there’s bullying going on, that’s when kids feel like they have to take a weapon to school to protect themselves.”
After Columbine raised awareness of the need to prepare for school crises, school safety has improved nationally, Elliott said. In Colorado, the Legislature changed the law to allow schools, law enforcement and social services agencies to legally share information and every school in the state is now required to have a bullying prevention plan.
Any parent in the state can now go into their child’s school and ask to see what the bullying prevention plan is for that school and make sure that the school is following through with it, he said.
Every school, even those in rural areas, needs an “all-hazards” approach to crises that works for a variety of threats: fires, natural hazards, terrorist attacks, chemical spills, a shooter in the building or a hostage takeover, Elliott said. But most schools haven’t practiced these plans with a full response by police, SWAT, fire, victims’ services, mental health services and ambulances — all coordinated by a single command post.
As the responses to both Columbine and Sept. 11 showed, such drills are important because they reveal communications and other crucial response issues between agencies, he said. Such practices could be held on weekends without students being present, he noted.
Elliott also is concerned when school officials tell him that school safety is a lower priority for them than academic performance, that there is no space in their curriculum for an anti-bullying program.
“These two things should not be in competition with each other,” he said. “If you’ve got a problem with students feeling unsafe at school, you’re not going to improve academic performance because school safety is a necessary precondition for students to be able to concentrate and even to be willing to come to school.
“We argue that being safe at school and improving academic performance go hand in hand.”
Six percent of schoolchildren reported that they had not come to school on occasion because they were afraid of being threatened or assaulted according to the most recent Centers for Disease Control survey, Elliott said.
“Nevertheless, students are more likely to be a victim of violence away from school than at school by a huge margin,” said Elliott, who was the senior scientific editor of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Youth Violence issued in 2001.
The Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence is part of the CU-Boulder Institute of Behavioral Science. For more information about the center visithttp://www.colorado.edu/cspv/.
Tree removal to impact traffic on Pearl Street next week
The City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) will be removing two damaged cottonwood trees along the west end of Pearl Street. The work is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Jan. 17, and be finished by the end of the week. This schedule is weather dependent.
Due to several defects these two cottonwood trees have been identified as hazards to the public and to public and private property. While the contractor is on site and working, Pearl Street will be closed from Canyon Boulevard to Third Street.
Boulder County, Colo. – The Fourmile Emergency Stabilization (FES) Team has completed an initial environmental assessment of the Fourmile Fire burned area. The assessment outlines the potential risks to human life and safety, and property as a result of the fire, and provides recommendation for treatments that will reduce these risks.
The team assessed the immediate threats from the wildfire impacts to soils, vegetation, hydrologic functions such as debris flow and flooding in drainages and slopes, trees, transportation infrastructure, abandoned mines, cultural resources, and wildlife.
The analysis determined that because of the increased threat of flooding and debris flows to homes and infrastructure, a watershed emergency exists. Key areas of concern include Gold Run Creek and Fourmile Creek.
It is expected that snowmelt may produce black water runoff, as ash and burned material are carried downstream, but snow typically cannot melt fast enough to generate the amount of runoff that can be produced by intense thunderstorms.
“We expect increased flood risk for several years after the fire,” said Carl Chambers, hydrologist for the team. “While snowmelt flows will be elevated, the greatest risk for damaging floods is from summer thunderstorms.”
There is also high potential for noxious weeds to encroach on the burned area and compromise the establishment of native species.
The FES team recommends emergency stabilization measures including aerial mulching, seeding, treating known noxious weed infestations, and monitoring for new weed infestations. The team also recommended channel treatments to clear debris from flood-prone channels.
Recommendations also include implementing protection and safety measures such as signage, the installation of barriers to physically stop debris flow, flood warning systems, hazard tree removal, and securing mine openings.
The estimated cost of implementing the emergency stabilization recommendations on both public and private lands is nearly $1.7 million. Boulder County will seek grants from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to implement the recommended treatments. The federal land agencies, the Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service, will apply separately for funding for rehabilitation on their lands.
Landownership remains the single most complicating factor in the emergency stabilization of the Fourmile Canyon Fire. Many of the recommendations for emergency stabilization will require treatments to occur across property boundaries – of private and publicly owned lands, and occupied and vacant lands. Boulder County will work in conjunction with NRCS to assist private landowners with treatments.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service has initiated the Emergency Watershed Protection program process for the Fourmile Fire, with Boulder County as the sponsor, to help property owners begin erosion control on their own lands.
Residents of the burned area can contact NRCS 303-776-4034 x3 for information about rehabilitation, including seeding recommendations and soil stabilization. NRCS is currently exploring potential funding sources for protection measures on private lands.
“Regardless of funding that might eventually be received, NRCS staff is available right now to help all landowners, regardless of burn severity, with soil stabilization technical information for practices like reseeding, mulching, and erosion control barriers,” said team conservationist, Boyd Byelich of NRCS.
SOURCE: BOULDER COUNTY PRESS RELEASE
FEMA Authorizes Funds To Help Fight Four Mile Canyon Fire In Boulder County
Release Date: September 6, 2010
Release Number: R8-10-011
DENVER, Colo. — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Four Mile Canyon Fire in Boulder County. The fire is burning on state and private land in the Gold Hill area.
FEMA approved Colorado’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) at 4:20 p.m. MDT. At the time of the state’s request, the fire had burned more than 2.500 acres and threatened more than 250 homes, forcing approximately 1,000 residents to evacuate. The fire is also threatening outbuildings, utilities and an area watershed.
“While we don’t send engines or firefighters to battle these blazes, FEMA does help reimburse states for their firefighting costs,” said FEMA Region VIII Regional Administrator Robin Finegan. “Whenever a wildfire threatens large numbers of homes and looks like it may become a major disaster, we can help cover costs so the state can do what it needs to do to fight the fire.”
The authorization makes FEMA funding available to pay 75 percent of the state’s eligible firefighting costs under an approved grant for managing, mitigating and controlling designated fires. These grants do not provide assistance to individual home or business owners and do not cover other infrastructure damage caused by the fire.
Fire Management Assistance Grants are provided through the President’s Disaster Relief Fund and made available by FEMA to assist in fighting fires that threaten to cause a major disaster. Eligible items can include expenses for field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; mobilization and demobilization activities; and tools, materials and supplies.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders and to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.