Happy Friday, Boulder! 🎉 Hope you’re gearing up for an excellent weekend.

We’ve got a trio of Marshall Fire stories for you in this morning’s edition of BRL Today: an emergency rebuilding ordinance in Louisville amid widespread underinsurance; a volunteer community resource for fire victims; plus the changing wildland-urban interface and the fire next time.

We’ll see you on Monday. In the meantime, take care of yourselves and each other.

– Jezy, managing editor

Gov. Jared Polis speaks at a reelection campaign kickoff event at the Rayback Collective in Boulder on Wednesday, Feb. 16. “I’m proud of Colorado. I’m proud of our resilience,” he said. “When I ran for governor, I never thought there’d be a once-in-a-century pandemic, the three largest fires in the history of our state, and shootings just a few blocks from where I live. But we never let that hold us back from moving Colorado forward.” Credit: Anthony Albidrez

Top Stories

Widespread underinsurance prompts City of Louisville to streamline regulations to help people rebuild

The Louisville City Council approved an emergency ordinance intended to expedite construction in neighborhoods destroyed by the fire, even as it pursues other regulations that could slow things down. Read the full story

After launching during the early days of Covid-19, an online volunteer group becomes a lifeline in the wake of the Marshall Fire

This Sunday’s opening of a new free store for fire victims at the Christopher Plaza shopping center in Louisville is the latest community relief effort spearheaded by local resident Serena Overson. Read the full story

‘Colorado is a flammable place’: experts urge renewed focus on resilience after the fire 

In the final installment of a virtual conversation series, panelists share insight on building fire-adapted communities in response to the expanding wildland-urban interface. Read the full story

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Quickly

⏱️ Sunny and mild today, with highs in the mid-50s.
⏱️ Boulder County’s indoor mask mandate ends today at 5 p.m.
⏱️ The Covid testing site at Centaurus High School is closed today, to provide a mental health break for staff. More testing sites here.
⏱️ An online community meeting for residents in unincorporated Boulder County affected by the Marshall Fire takes place next Wednesday, Feb. 23.
⏱️ Hydro-mulch work is underway on properties destroyed by the Marshall Fire, to help prevent windblown toxins from entering local waterways.
⏱️ Residents who haven’t contacted the hyrdo-mulch team should request sifting work during the final debris removal phase, anticipated to begin March 1. Email or call 303-214-3203.
⏱️ Want to know if you qualify for local fire relief funds — and how much you might be entitled to? Boulder County has answers.
⏱️ Most trails in the Marshall Mesa area will reopen today.
⏱️ North Boulder Park was groomed yesterday for Nordic skiing, after recent snowfall on Feb. 16. 

Covid-19 in Boulder County: Feb. 18, 2022

  • 132 daily new cases (7-day avg.)  Down 41% over preceding 7-day avg.
  • 40 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) Down from avg. of 41 since July 2020.
  • 64% percent of ICU is occupied. Down 71% since July 2020.
  • Data: Here’s how and where we’re tracking all of the above.

Latest Covid news

  • Crisis standards expire. Effective yesterday, crisis standards of care for staffing and emergency medical services are no longer in effect. “The decision to deactivate these standards is based on recent modeling and steadily declining cases and hospitalizations, suggesting the immediate strain Covid-19 places on Colorado should continue to decrease in the coming weeks,” said CDPHE Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eric France.
  • Cautious optimism. Colorado State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy says cases in the state continue to decline at a steady pace. Hospitalizations are down, too. Based on modeling projections, 90% of Coloradans are now immune from Omicron. The big unknown is timing and characteristics of future variants.
  • Second booster for the immunocompromised. CDPHE says people with compromised immune systems should get a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at least three months after they got their additional primary dose of Pfizer or Moderna.

BRL Picks

💪 Boulder strong. Photographer and CU Boulder professor Ross Taylor’s collaborative portrait exhibition marking the anniversary of the King Soopers shooting opens tomorrow at the Museum of Boulder. The show runs through April 10.
⚖️ Free legal clinics. Want to learn more about various legal topics? Free legal clinics are available online through Colorado’s Access to Justice Committees. Pre-register for monthly clinics on collecting judgments, divorce and child custody, sealing records, small claims and estate planning.  
🚌 Sound off on bus route changes. Got thoughts on RTD’s proposed changes to local bus routes? The district has extended the deadline (to March 9) for public input. Check out our reporting on what the new plan could mean for your Boulder County commute.
🚲 Relief on two wheels. Reminder: Community Cycles is still offering free used bikes to anyone affected by the Marshall Fire. These bicycles are best suited for everyday transportation needs. To apply for a bike (or donate one) click here to learn more. Donate at Community Cycles (2601 Spruce St, Unit B) daily from 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

What We’re Reading

  • From Colorado to Beijing. Did you know Colorado’s Copper Mountain is the official training home for the U.S. Ski Team? “Earlier this month, Copper announced a new three-year partnership with U.S. Ski and Snowboard, the sport’s governing body, to serve as the hub for training ahead of the 2026 Winter Games in the Italian cities of Milano and Cortina.” [Axios Denver]
  • Building tension. “For some fire victims, Louisville’s new climate-minded building codes are a chance for progressive neighbors to rebuild as a model sustainable community. Other families displaced by the Marshall fire worry those ambitions will mean more debt and longer stays in someone else’s basement.” [CPR News]

ICYMI from BRL

❤️‍🩹 Marshall Fire is adding to high demand for mental health resources. Here is a list of providers offering services. Joy Redstone, director of the Naropa Community Counseling Center, said she hasn’t seen this level of demand for mental health services in her nearly 30 years as a therapist.
🎨 Boulder nonprofit eases isolation through the arts. Circle of Care was sparked by what its founder Joan Raderman calls an “epiphany” she had while singing at a nursing home Christmas party in 2003. “We get older people into public spaces. That generates visibility of older adults who normally are the ones not seen, the hidden,” she said. “They have a right to be in the community — they were the ones who helped build it.”

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Have a story tip for us?
Send us your ideas at tips@boulderreportinglab.org.

– The BRL Team

Jezy J. Gray

I’m the managing editor of the Boulder Reporting Lab. In addition to years of writing on the culture, politics and history of my home state of Oklahoma, I was the final editor-in-chief of the Tulsa Voice, a local bi-weekly newspaper where I led a small but mighty team of journalists to regional and national honors in feature writing, diversity reporting, LGBTQ+ coverage and more. I look forward to listening to and learning from the Boulder community as we work together on telling the stories that matter here.