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EVER WONDER: Did bighorns survive the fire? Prettier AFA solar panels
Maybe this was answered during all your coverage of the Waldo Canyon wildfire and I missed it, but did all the bighorn sheep survive the fire?
ANSWER: Many people were concerned about the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep that live in the rocky areas near Glen Eyrie and, in fact, can sometimes be seen on the lawns there.
Michael Seraphin of Colorado Parks and Wildlife has been kept busy answering questions about wildlife and how they fared during the fire.
The bighorns are apparently fine and have been spotted back in their usual habitat. Food sources are again growing in the fire areas.
Seraphin and other experts say there's a mistaken belief that when a wildfire races through a forest, all the animals run for their lives like you see in animated movies. Instead, many stay safely inside the fire's perimeter, said Seraphin in an outtherecolorado.com story.
An interesting study during the Yellowstone fires in the late-1980s documented that large wildlife such as bison, elk and bighorn sheep had stayed inside areas ringed with fire and were contentedly eating, sleeping and living their lives. Sometimes wildlife haven't fared quite as well, but usually this is the case.
Seraphin said that animals' instincts are superior to people's and animals that need to run will, those that fly will and those that can burrow will.
Bears coped with the Ute Pass evacuation by heading away from the flames and right for an empty Green Mountain Falls. Wildlife officials helped them decide to head back for the hills post-fire.
More about the AFA 'solar array'
I found your report (July 16) that there could be a savings of $1 million a year over the 25 year “design lifetime” of the 6 MW solar power plant located on the Air Force Academy interesting. I thought that I read somewhere that the cost of the plant was over $30 million. Am I mistaken?
- Gene Webb
ANSWER: The solar project was built with $18.3 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - federal stimulus money. The renewable energy company Sunpower designed and built it and is maintaining it. Sunpower also has a solar-array utilities system at Nellis Air Force Base among others.
Reader Nancy wonders why the field of solar panels couldn't have been put somewhere less visible than along Interstate 25. The Air Force Academy had explained at the project's start that the system is its most productive away from the mountains and foothills. Also, this bare acreage had fewer trees that would have had to be removed or transplanted when the "solar array" was constructed.
If anyone can explain to a reader why the solar panels couldn't be "prettier," just let us know. We were a little at a loss about that one.
In light of the horrific fire damage that is very fresh on our minds, what is the 'rule' for clean up and/or repair? In my neighborhood, a house has sat with boarded up windows and black soot on it since a fire hit it in November 2010.
- Mary Gagliardi
ANSWER: This is a problem our "Side Streets" columnist Bill Vogrin has addressed over the years. If the house isn't structurally unsound or dangerous, it's often difficult to get anything done. He checked the history of one mess of a house and discovered that if the owner does one tiny thing such as a dab or two of paint here and there, that gets the city off his back for awhile. In this case, these awhiles have lasted for 40 years.
To start out, file an online complaint with City Code Enforcement, part of the Police Department, at springsgov.com. Good luck.
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