May 20, 2020
Fire Restrictions Update from the National Forest Service:
Stage 2 fire restrictions (see below) are in effect for all National Forest System lands in the Rio Grande National Forest.
Current conditions are not being updated by district.
Our Sheep Creek fire danger signs will continue to be set to Extreme
Due to the continued drying trend and wind, Conejos County Sheriff Garth Crowther has initiated Stage 2 fire restrictions for all of Conejos County.
- Fires, campfires, charcoal grills, coal and wood burning stoves are prohibited including use in developed recreation sites.
- Devices using pressurized liquid or gas that include a shut-off valve and wood stoves used to heat a residence are allowed.
- Smoking is allowed only within an enclosed vehicle, trailer or buildings where smoking is permitted.
- Welding or operating acetylene or other torches with open flame is prohibited, unless it is within an enclosed building.
- Also prohibited are all explosives, including fireworks, exploding targets, and tracers or incendiary ammunition.
- Operating or using any internal combustion engine, such as a chainsaw, generator or all-terrain vehicle is only allowed with a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order meeting USDA Forest Service or SAE approval. Additionally, chainsaw operators must have a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher and round point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches readily available for use.
- The entire Stage 2 fire restrictions order may be viewed on the Rio Grande National Forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/riogrande. For more information, call the Conejos County Sheriff’s Office at 719-376-2196. This Order will be in effect from 12:01 am on April 15th, 2020 and will remain in force until rescinded.
COVID-19 May 20, 2020 Daily Update
Saguache County confirmed their first COVID-19 related fatality today, bringing the total deaths in the SLV to three. Four more cases have been confirmed positive, bringing the total number for the SLV to 110. County case counts and other San Luis Valley data are updated weekdays at slvemergency.org/slv-covid-19.
Conejos County Public Health is investigating possible COVID-19 exposures at the Conejos County Jail. One employee has been confirmed to have the virus. Close contacts of the confirmed positive employee have been instructed to isolate at home, monitor symptoms, and be tested. Due to use of masks, proper cleaning and hygiene, and limited contact, inmates are at relatively low risk. Right now, there is no outbreak at any facility in Conejos County. Conejos County Public Health is actively monitoring the situation and updates will be available soon.
In Emergency Management, one of the main focuses is Recovery, what to do after the crisis is over. When there’s a fire, flood, or other natural disaster, there is usually a clear beginning, middle, and end. Public Health emergencies are a different kind of disaster in that they are often long-term. The Governor says, “This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon,” and like a marathon, we need to pace ourselves. That is why local governments are seeking a balanced, gradual approach to reopening. While it seems to many that the major crisis is ramping down or even over, Public Health activity is starting to ramp up as response efforts begin to bring results. Our focus at this point needs to be on stability, rather than recovery.
REMINDER OF HOW COVID-19 can effect you here in the Conejos Canyon.
- Resources: Our local health care system, Conejos County EMS and Conejos County Sheriff are not equipped to handle cases of the Coronavirus that could arrive with increased population.
- Grocery stores: Please be aware grocery stores in Conejos county have limited quantities of stock and availability.
- Healthcare: Valley Wide Health Services and SLV health are extremely limited in their capacity to care for those affected by COVID-19. SLV Health hospitals have very limited testing resources. Hospital beds and ICU capabilities throughout the SLV are very limited. An influx of population will potentially put added pressure on nearby regional hospitals that will be taxed by other areas too.
- Altitude: Conejos County’s high altitude is not well suited for a respiratory illness such as COVID-19.
- Quarantine: Conejos County is requesting you to self-quarantine in your home for 14 days upon returning to our County for the prevention of spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).