Denver Direct: Fire in the Hole

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fire in the Hole

From Councilwoman Johnson: This special bulletin was sent to email addresses within Monaco Parkway, 11th Avenue, Havana Street and Mississippi Avenue. I appreciate your help in sharing this notice with your neighbors. You may sign up for my newsletters and special bulletins at Thank You.

Westerly Creek Dam Fire on March 8, 2009

DENVER – Whether you were watching the skies or the news yesterday evening, you know that the open space around the Westerly Creek dam caught fire. The fire consumed much of the grassland above the Lowry landfill on Alameda Avenue, the proposed site for IRG’s Lowry Vista development.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has done an initial inspection of the landfill, and it looks like none of the monitoring devices in the cap have been affected. CDPHE will continue to investigate the area, to see if any damage was done to the landfill cap when fire trucks were forced to drive on it.

The grass in the area should spontaneously regenerate because of the fire damage; however, if it does not for some reason, grasses will be replanted.

People reported seeing black smoke rising from the fire – this is from the burning cattails in the dam’s wetlands. Gray and white smoke came from the grasslands, and CDPHE says that nothing was released from the materials buried in the landfill.

Chief Nick Nuanes of the Denver Fire Department is appreciative of the cooperation from the Aurora and South Metro fire departments. They were able to bring a “brush truck” to the scene, which carries its own water and can move while pumping. Denver does not have one of these engines in its inventory because we have very little open grassland within the city’s boundaries.

Chief Nuanes noted, “If the fire station proposed for Lowry Vista were already built, that fire would have been out in minutes.”

I advocated for a fire station at Lowry to be part of the 2007 bond issue. Thanks to the voters, we should expect to see a new fire station here in the near future.

Marcia Johnson

(Ed. note: None of the articles I could find reporting this fire mentioned the fact that it was on a capped radioactive landfill….except for this one by Adrienne Anderson.