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Front Page » January 18, 2005 » Local News » Board recommends fire control systems for mountain cabins
Published 3,514 days ago

Board recommends fire control systems for mountain cabins


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate community editor


Mountain developments like Aspen Cove will now have new fire regulations covering the construction of cabins or homes in their boundaries. All new construction will require automatic sprinkling systems to be included in the design.

There is a new regulation for people who plan to build second homes or cabins in planned mountain home developments in Carbon County; automatic fire suppression systems.

At the regularly scheduled county planning and zoning meeting on Jan. 4, the board recommended the commission pass an ordinance requiring such structures to have sprinkling systems to put out fires before the blazes get out of control.

In the past couple of years, the county has struggled with what to do about fire problems in planned mountain subdivisions. They have talked about water pressures and delivery rates, as well as how to stage equipment and personnel to fight fires in a timely manner in mountain areas.

A cabin fire near Scofield Reservoir several ears ago threatened and did minor damage to other structures before it was put out. The cabin was a total loss.

Two years ago, a fire in Aspen Cove began in a large cabin and the structure nearly burned to the ground before anyone noticed the blaze.

By the time emergency personnel arrived at the scene, the crews couldn't save anything and had to control the fire from spreading into the surrounding area.

Aspen Cove is somewhat typical of many mountain subdivisions. It has some large homes that are not occupied much of the year.

While a few residents live year round there, they often can't see neighbors' homes because of the forest that surround the lots.

Fires at the wrong time of the year could not only damage or destroy the structure where the fire started, but could spread to adjoining wildlands and other homes.

The biggest problem fires in the areas is response time.

A fire in a mountain subdivision such as Aspen Cove can take up to 45 minutes of response time because engines need to come from Scofield and Helper.

Some residents of Aspen Cove have suggested the county stage some equipment for fire protection within the boundaries of the subdivision.

But concerns about protecting fire fighting apparatus from winter weather and having trained personnel on site to use the equipment properly and safely have held that kind of a move up indefinitely.

The suggested code reads "In all newly constructed single family and multi-family dwellings in a Planned Mountain Home Development, an automatic sprinkler system shall have been installed throughout, in accordance with the National Fire Protection Associations Code."

Should this new code be passed by the county commission, it will not affect existing structures either in planned developments or on other private property.

The commission also approved two subdivision items from their agenda.

The first was a request from Richard Lee for preliminary and final approval for another five acre lot to be added to The Hill subdivision southwest of Price. The commission approved base on the documentation.

The second was a proposal by Mel Coonrod and Cody Ware to give preliminary approval to the Eagle Cliff Subdivision Phase 1 that is near Kenilworth.

Ware and Coonrod had come in earlier in the year requesting the approval, but the commission had found a number of things they wanted changed before they could approve it.

"We now have a 66 foot access road and all the lots will have sewer except lot four," explained Ware. "We have also converted the design for all the bridges to 50 feet."

But the commission still had some questions. They were concerned with a cul de sac that was in the development plan as well as a frontage on one of the lots in that turn around.

As the commission worked through the plan, they speculated about what could be done to fix the problems, and the solutions seemed fairly simple. After some discussion they decided to send a recommendation to the county commission to go ahead and give preliminary approval as long as the two situations were redesigned to fit county standards.


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