Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 3:25 pm
The Bureau of Land Management, environmentalists, and the energy industry have reached an agreement on a proposal to drill for oil and gas on the Roan Plateau. The new plan cancels 17 out of 19 oil and gas leases that were issued in 2008. Two previous leases at the top of the plateau, and a dozen at the base will remain in place.
"These measures allow us to protect the plateau but harness some of the energy resources," said Governor John Hickenlooper.
The Alkali Fire northwest of Craig has burned more than 20,000 acres.
Officials said the fire is now fully contained.
The wildfire started Wednesday and the cause of it is still under investigation.
Lynn Barclay with Bureau of Land Management said the fire is burning sagebrush and grass.
"This year because we did have a wet spring the grass that we have out there is thicker [and] tall and the sagebrush out in that area can get very, very tall, over five feet," Barclay said. "When you get some wind on that continuous fuel bed the fire just runs."
As the BLM winds down two years of discussions over a long-term management plan for the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, KVNF’s Travis Bubenik joined a group of area environmentalists and conservationists for a canoe-trip-meets- resource-discussion down the lower Gunnison river.
Two wildfires are currently burning north of Hotchkiss this afternoon. Both fires are believed to be caused by lightning as the area received numerous lightning strikes during the past 24 hours. Smoke may be visible in the area throughout the day and may settle into valleys overnight.