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Serving Cortez and Southwestern Colorado for more than a century.

July 7, 2012


VOL. 123, No. 042



n Fourth of July sporting event continues its successful growth.


n Cortez reader writes: Job well done.

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n Campers learn math, science, engineering using LEGO®s.

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Furse holds on to DA win Narrow 18-vote margin triggers automatic recount By Michael Maresh Journal Staff Writer More than a week after the final primary election ballots were cast, Will Furse appears to have triumphed in his bid to unseat 22nd Judicial District Attorney Russell Wasley.

Weber Fire is officially over Outside firefighting teams’ efforts to fight the Weber Fire near Mancos have concluded. Russ Reimers’ Type 3 Incident Management Organization was expected to hand off control of the scene to the Bureau of Land Management’s Tres Rios Field Office on Saturday morning. On behalf of his group, Reimers expressed deep gratitude to the community and the cooperating agencies working on the Weber Fire. The fire, which began late in the afternoon on June 22, burned 10,133 acres and one outbuilding. No homes were destroyed. Precipitation Wednesday night helped cool hotspots inside the fire line, although smoke will continue to be visible from isolated logs and stumps well within the fire’s perimeter. Agency standards require that the fire be completely mopped up at least 150 feet inside the line in the vicinity of structures, and 75 feet inside the perimeter elsewhere. Most firefighters either returned to their homes or were transferred to other wildfires on Friday. Lightning-strike fires continue to be reported throughout Southwest Colorado. Such fires can smolder undetected for several days before emitting smoke and flame.

With all votes in both Montezuma and Dolores counties now tallied, Furse received 1,941 while Wasley came up just short with 1,923 votes. Because of the extremely narrow margin — just under the limit of one half of one percent — the race automatically qualifies for a recount. One-half of

one percent of the ballots cast in the DA race would be 19.32. “I’m thrilled. These results are the joyful consequence of so many wonderful people’s hard work and dedication,” Furse told a Journal reporter late Friday. “This election represents a new day for our deserving community.”

Wasley, however was not yet ready to concede defeat. “I do not know at this point if there will be a recount” he said. “I do want to congratulate Mr. Furse on running an effective campaign.”


See furSe on Page 12A


Hot temps chase away monsoons

Lighting up the night

Early rains provide relief but little moisture By Michael Maresh Journal Staff Writer Despite Montezuma County’s short reprieve from recent rains that dropped daytime high temperatures below 90 degrees for a few days this past week, those temperatures are expected to climb again this weekend. Jim Andrus, meteorologist cooperative weather observer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said monsoon storms resulted in a small amount of rain July 4-6, but he expects this monsoon pattern to move out by early today. During the month of June this year, the temperature exceeded 90 on 20 days. Jim Andrus Andrus said meteorologist even with the cooperative weather observer .08 inch of rain National Oceanic and Atmospheric and the moisAdministration ture in the air on Wednesday, July 4, the temperature still reached 91 degrees, with the high on Thursday in the low 80s, the high 80s on Friday and into the 90s this weekend.

“It was definitely hotter than normal. It was 10 to 15 degrees hotter than average.”

Journal/Sam Green

R.C. Kautz stands back after lighting a fountain display Wednesday at Parque de Vida. For more pictures of the Cortez Fourth of July celebration, see page 11A of today’s Journal.

See monSoonS on Page 7A

‘Fire is important. Fire is necessary.’ Periodic wildfire plays an integral role in forest health By KiMBerly Benedict Journal Staff Writer

JournAl/SAm Green

Strike crew leAder John Henry, from Lassen National Forest, discusses the necessity of fire for forest ecology while standing in Weber Canyon on Thursday, June 28.

“Fire is part of the ecosystem.” Looking at the burned hillsides of Weber Canyon on Thursday, June 28, strike team leader John Henry reiterated the sentiment. “Fire is important. Fire is necessary.” As wildfires continue to rage in the United States, many with devastating consequences, researchers, forest managers and firefighters are offering reminders that fire, in its natural state and environment, is an important part of forest ecology, and continued suppression efforts only serve to strengthen blazes that encroach on the wildland-urban interface. “We have seen a management evolution away from fire and have become very good at suppressing fire in the forest,” said Henry, a firefighter

INSIDE ■ Senator wants statewide fire plan. Page 9A

from the Lassen National Forest in California. “That is why we are getting these catastrophic fires, like in Colorado Springs. We are undermining what the environment needs.” Fire has long played a role in forest management and the culture of those who live on the land. Tree Escalanti, crew boss for a fire squad out of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation in California assigned to the Weber Fire, said Native Americans have recognized, and revered, the role of fire in the ecosystem for centuries. Escalanti is Mescalero Apache. “To us, fire is our strength,” Escalanti said, resting for a

moment in a burnt stand of piñon and juniper in Weber Canyon on Thursday, June 28. “Our way is to believe that fire is part of who you are and who we are as a people.” Firefighters on the Fort Yuma Reservation are required to attend classes taught by tribal elders on the historic role of fire in cleaning, renewing and restoring the environment. “They used fire, and allowed fire, to clean things and make things new,” Escalanti said. “We talk about a fire in a canyon that the tribe could not stop, no matter what they

See fire on Page 9A

Weber Day6 1  
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