Some good news to start your Friday: The wildfire that burned through nearly 200 acres of open space near NCAR last weekend is now 100% contained, according to Boulder Fire-Rescue. ๐Ÿ‘

As someone whose home was saved by the hundreds of firefighters who kept the blaze from lurching into the city โ€” not to mention the mitigation efforts of OSMP โ€” I want to use this space to offer a big fat thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to those public workers. I am currently writing this note at my dining room table, next to my sleeping cats in my quiet South Boulder neighborhood, because of you.

Want even more good news? Trails are back open after the fire โ€” just in time for the weekend. See you out there. ๐ŸฅพโœŒ๏ธ

โ€“ Jezy, managing editor

The 10 origami cranes depicted in John Aaron’s Taking Flight represent those who were killed in the King Soopers tragedy on March 22, 2021. Aaron is selling 11 x 11โ€ prints of this and other scenes from around town, as part of the artist’s Color Me Boulder project, with all proceeds benefiting Community Foundation Boulder County.

Quickly

โ˜๏ธ Mostly cloudy and mild: Lots of cloud cover expected today, with occasional drizzle and light rain in the morning and highs in the mid-50s. Expect more sunshine and warmer temps on Saturday.

๐Ÿ”ฅ NCAR Fire 100% contained: The burn area remains at 190 acres, according to Boulder Fire-Rescue. “Please note: 100% containment does not mean that the fire is completely ‘out.’ There may be interior portions of the fire that are still smoldering and smoke may still be visible.”

๐Ÿ‘ฎ See something, say something: The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who was on or near the trails surrounding NCAR around the time of the March 26 wildfire (2 p.m.) to email or call 720-564-2679.

โš–๏ธ Marshall Fire legal action: A new class-action lawsuit, first reported by CBS Denver, accuses Xcel Energy of negligence in the Marshall Fire, while claiming to have video showing sparks from a malfunctioning power line. Per the lawsuit: “The inherent danger in Xcelโ€™s construction of its Electrical Systems materialized in an arcing/electrical event that caused the Marshall Fire, which damaged Plaintiffsโ€™ property.” The suit lists two businesses as plaintiffs, Eldorado Enterprises, Inc. and Eldorado Liquor, Inc., as well as John and Jane Doe, a married couple. It was filed on behalf of all the fire victims, the suit says. (Xcel said in response that “nothing weโ€™ve seen at this point in the investigation leads us to believe” that Xcel’s equipment “ignited the fire.”)

๐Ÿ”Ž Meanwhile, Marshall Fire investigation continues: The Boulder County Sheriffโ€™s Office continues to look into the cause and origin of the Marshall Fire. The ongoing process could take several more months, as investigators review nearly 200 tips from the community.

๐Ÿ—“๏ธ Mortgage/rental relief deadline: April 8 is the last day to apply for mortgage and rental relief through CAR Foundation’s Boulder County Fire Relief Victim Aid program. Relief assistance is limited to a maximum of $3,000 per household.

๐Ÿšฒ Bike burglary tops $80k(!): Three bikes โ€” valued at $40,000, $30,000 and $12,000, respectively โ€” were stolen on Wednesday from a business at the 2800 block of Wilderness Place. “Anyone with any information related to this investigation is asked to call Detective C. Hartkopp at 303-441-1951 reference case 22-2976.”

๐ŸŠ Crocs for all: The Broomfield-based casual footwear company, Crocs, is offering a free pair of shoes to every student, educator and staff member within the Boulder Valley School District. “While we know itโ€™s a long road to recovery [post-Marshall Fire], we hope this simple gesture provides a sense of comfort.”  

๐Ÿฅพ Happy trails: Trails around NCAR have reopened after last Saturday’s wildfire. OSMP says hikers should continue to avoid burn areas in open space.

Top Story

With homelessness on the rise, Boulder County considers penalties for people living out of their vehicles

Boulder County officials are considering an ordinance to allow officers to ticket people for living out of their vehicles on county-owned land. 

The number of people sleeping in cars is a symptom of rising homelessness across the county, officials say, and it has drawn the ire of residents concerned about people cooking food with propane tanks and leaving behind trash outside their homes.ย 

โ€œWhen you buy a home and have kids in the yard and a really run-down, unsightly motorhome pulls up in front of your house and people camp out, community members get very upset,โ€ said Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle.ย 

Pelle said his office requested the county draft the ordinance in light of recent complaints from residents in Palo Park, Twin Lakes and other areas of unincorporated Boulder County. He said officers have been issuing parking tickets to deal with the complaints. 

โ€œWe needed a tool to help move folks along,โ€ Pelle said of the ordinance. โ€œWe had no method of doing any kind of enforcement without an ordinance.โ€ 

The proposed ordinance, which was presented to the Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday, March 29, would impose a $300 fine for a third offense of residing in a vehicle for more than 24 hours over a seven-day period on county land.ย 

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BRL Picks

โค๏ธโ€๐Ÿฉน Healing Day of Remembrance. Local teens with Growing Up Boulder’s Youth Leadership Healing Committee present an interactive program of art-making and community-building at BMoCA on Saturday, 10 a.m.โ€“noon, designed to help process grief after the King Soopers shooting, Marshall Fire and Covid-19 pandemic.

๐ŸŽธ Fire benefit concert. Louisville Rising presents a benefit concert downtown at the Steinbaugh Pavillion Saturday, 3โ€“7 p.m. Musical acts include Gasoline Lollipops and Many Mountains, with food, drinks and a silent auction rounding out the fire-relief festivities.

๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐ŸŒพ Farmer’s Market returns. Boulder County’s favorite farm-to-table tradition returns Saturday, April 2, at 8 a.m. Drop by 13th Street between Canyon and Arapahoe in Boulder or the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont for food vendors, live music and more.

COVID Updates: April 1, 2022

  • 73 daily new cases (7-day avg.) ๐Ÿ”บUp 6% over preceding 7-day avg.
  • 0 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) โฌ‡Down from avg. of 40 since July 2020.
  • 52% percent of ICU is occupied. โฌ‡Down from avg. of 71% since July 2020.
  • Near-record low hospitalization rates. “The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 84 people were receiving care statewide for confirmed COVID-19 as of Tuesday. The daily count of people hospitalized for the virus has only been lower twice, on the first two days that Colorado collected that data in late March 2020.”

What We’re Reading

๐Ÿ“– 6 highlights from Colorado’s largest-ever spending plan. “The state has more money to work with this year because of a strong economy with healthy tax revenues and a massive influx of federal COVID relief. But spending that money has raised questions about what the state prioritizes and how it should prepare for the post-pandemic period.” [CPR News]

ICYMI from BRL

๐Ÿ’ฐ Whatโ€™s the plan for distributing the rest of the Marshall Fire fund? Community Foundation Boulder County releases first details. The local philanthropy is placing a priority on helping fire victims rebuild. For some, that raises questions over whether the most vulnerable may be left out.

โšก Want to get off natural gas? Boulder climate experts offer advice on electrifying your home. Energy experts with the Rocky Mountain Institute break down the benefits โ€” and costs โ€” of retrofitting for a carbon-free future.

๐Ÿ”ฅ โ€˜365 fire days a yearโ€™: NCAR wildfire is another wake-up call for weary Boulder residents adjusting to life in the new normal. Three months after the Marshall Fire destroyed more than 1,000 homes, the NCAR Fire burned nearly 200 acres of city open space near a residential area. Boulder Reporting Lab talked to those who stayed behind and those who fled to shelter, once again fearing for their homes and safety.

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Jezy J. Gray

Jezy Gray was the former managing editor of Boulder Reporting Lab. In addition to years of writing on the culture, politics and history of my home state of Oklahoma, he 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.