Response by one Boulder City Council member to yesterday’s post


By Max R. Weller

See: ‘Sunshine Fire west of Boulder sparked by campfire at apparent transient camp’ which was e-mailed to all nine members of BCC. One of them, who shall remain nameless here, made this reply by e-mail:


I have read all your posts. I am certainly one who has been sitting on my hands. I often agree with what you say, and I definitely agree with this one.

[Name deleted by me — MRW]

Member of City Council

Still waiting for word of the arrest(s) of the knucklehead(s) responsible . . . Whoever it is most likely is still enjoying Free Stuff at all of the many giveaway venues in Boulder, CO:

How about a Free Bus Ticket on RTD bound for Denver and a sack lunch to-go? 

‘Sunshine Fire west of Boulder sparked by campfire at apparent transient camp’


By Max R. Weller

Read the latest report in the Daily Camera here. Copied below in its entirety:

Boulder County Sheriff’s Office investigators believe that the cause of the 74-acre Sunshine Fire west of Boulder was a campfire on Boulder open space.

Investigators say that evidence at the fire’s point of origin near the Centennial Trailhead indicated the blaze was started by a campfire in what appeared to be a transient camp, according to a release.

According to the release, the fire was surrounded by rocks in a “hastily fashioned ad hoc campfire ring of sorts.” Investigators found moisture and kicked up dirt, which led them to believe an attempt was made to extinguish the campfire at one point in time.

A firefighting airplane drops retardant on the Sunshine Fire west of Boulder on Sunday. Both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft were used to battle the

A firefighting airplane drops retardant on the Sunshine Fire west of Boulder on Sunday. Both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft were used to battle the wildfire. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

There are no suspects at this time, and the fire remains under investigation.

The cost of fighting the fire has been estimated at $725,000.

Several neighbors indicated campfires and transient camps had become a frequent sight in the area.

The city of Boulder prohibits camping and campfires on all city open space land, and violations can result in a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail. Boulder County is also currently under a fire ban for areas west of Broadway.

The two [transients from Alabama] accused of starting the Cold Springs Fire in 2016 by not properly extinguishing a campfire were also charged with arson and sentenced to work release.

The fire was first reported at about 1:40 a.m. Sunday by a man who said he saw flames near Sunshine Canyon and Timber Lane.

The fire prompted mandatory evacuations for 426 homes and pre-evacuation notices for another 836 homes before crews were able to reach full containment on the fire Monday afternoon. No structures were damaged.

The cost of fighting the fire has been estimated at $725,000.

Anyone with information in the investigation of the Sunshine Fire should contact Boulder County sheriff’s Detective Jason Shatek at 303-441-3641. Those who wish to remain anonymous may contact the Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or (Emphasis is mine — MRW)


Rumors about the identities of possible suspects have been passed around by some homeless people in Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, and we can hope that solid leads will be passed on to investigators.

Let me address the major problem here — Boulder City Council members sitting on their hands as the nonprofits in our local homeless shelter / services industry WELCOME transients to our city, far beyond what resources here can provide for. It’s Boulder County’s own homeless men, women, and children who are getting shortchanged as Travelers grab all of the Free Stuff they can, then repay Boulder, CO’s kindness by burning down the countryside (whether by accident or on purpose doesn’t matter at this point).

How many times has the Homeless Philosopher acted as a voice crying in the wilderness, pleading for the commonsense approach of requiring valid photo ID showing a Boulder County address and proof of at least one year’s residency for anyone seeking shelter / services from any nonprofit in our city?

What can Council members do? Summon Greg Harms of Boulder Shelter, Isabel McDevitt of Bridge House / Community Table, Nancy Brinks of Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow, and all the other players who are negligently endangering the public safety and hurting the quality of life here to a public meeting — then make it clear that the city itself intends to become much more engaged in addressing homelessness, including cutting off all taxpayer funding to those nonprofits who fail to get on board.

In addition, provide bus tickets on RTD bound for Denver and sack lunches to-go for any transient who either requests them or is caught by police committing any petty offense (Smoking in Prohibited Area, Drinking from Open Container, Smoking Marijuana in Public, Illegal Camping, Trespassing, etc.) and would prefer to leave town rather than appear in court.

Boulder City Council no longer has any excuse for NOT taking action — the transients and their apologists / enablers have proven themselves unworthy to retain the public trust!

(This post e-mailed to Boulder City Council.)

Random stuff 3/21/2017


By Max R. Weller

1) See the Daily Camera’s update on the Sunshine Fire: Boulder County lifts evacuations for Sunshine Fire, 100% contained. Excerpt copied below:

Boulder County’s last major wildfire, 2016’s Cold Springs Fire near Nederland, was started by [transients from Alabama] who hadn’t properly extinguished their campfire.

[Area resident Henry] Koren said people starting fires in the area is a problem.

“I’ve caught guys lighting fires up in that area several times,” Koren said. “It’s usually transients, but not always. Sometimes it’s young people.”

Fellow evacuee Fred Moore said foot traffic on trails in the area is “extreme.”

“They’re a lot more accessible now since the flood,” Moore said. “It’s a really heavily trafficked area.”

Moore said that on some nights, transients who might otherwise spend their nights in downtown Boulder along the creek path move up into the foothills.

“There are more people on warm nights, and that adds to the probability that something could go wrong,” Moore said. “I’ve seen people sleeping up there, and I’ve occasionally stepped on a sleeping bag.”

I’ll bet dollars to donuts it’s young transients — a.k.a. Travelers. Perhaps even Travelers with a terroristic agenda.

2) Yes indeed, by the calendar Spring is here. Give a listen to Tom Lehrer’s classic tune here.

3) I now have over $300 saved from the generous passersby at the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36. It’s a comfort to know that I can get on a Greyhound bus at any time and travel FAR AWAY from the Boulder Bubble, if I choose.

4) Most Boulderites conflate style with substance and affectation with achievement. And they’re unable to understand why the outside world points and laughs at us . . .

5) I’m seated here at a computer in George Reynolds Branch Library on Table Mesa, enjoying a couple of bacon/egg/cheese burritos from King Soopers across the street. It gets even better; I’m looking forward to a McDonald’s delivery around noon at my spot in north Boulder.

6) See the commentary in the Times-Call by David A. Bitler: Should you give to a panhandler?

How about treating every single homeless person you encounter as an individual, and using your own good judgment as to whether or not to help? True, the bad actors are high profile and get way more publicity than they deserve, when in fact they comprise no more than 20% of all homeless people (my educated guess, based on years of firsthand experience in several cities).

The last thing I would ever advise is for goodhearted people to divert their attention to helping the homeless shelter / services industry, which operates by the creed More Homeless People = More Money. Don’t believe it? Look at Denver — now in year 11 of its Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness with more transients on the streets than before!

Was Sunshine Fire a terrorist act in retaliation for BOHO ending its nightly homeless overflow shelter?


By Max R. Weller

The timing seems very suspicious to me; Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow ends nightly sheltering for over 100 transients (3/15/2017 was the last night this season, before BOHO switched to weather-dependent criteria for opening), and just 3 nights later the Sunshine Fire erupts in an area well-known for bum campsites. I think the FBI should be called into the case for two reasons: 1) We have a lot of mentally ill transients coming here from all over America, and 2) Self-styled homeless advocates are constantly reinforcing the paranoia of homeless people in Boulder, CO and preaching that society is picking on them. This could possibly have been a deliberate act of domestic terrorism intended to extort more millions of $$$ for transient shelters / services run by local nonprofits who operate by the creed More Homeless People = More Money. The FBI might start by interviewing BOHO’s board of directors, and see where it leads . . .


Read the Daily Camera report: Sunshine Fire west of Boulder likely human-caused; 50% contained. Copied below in its entirety:

The Sunshine Fire that erupted early Sunday morning west of Boulder, scorching 62 acres and prompting more than 400 homes to be evacuated in the pre-dawn hours, appears to be human-caused.

“The general area where the fire was reported — Sunshine Canyon and Timber Trail — is a very social trail network,” Boulder County sheriff’s Cmdr. Mike Wagner said during a press briefing, adding that other causes such as downed power lines and lightning had been ruled out.

“There are a lot of people in and out of there,” he said. “We know there are a lot of transient camps in that area.”

Boulder County’s last major wildfire, 2016’s Cold Springs Fire near Nederland, was started by campers who hadn’t properly extinguished their campfire.

Emergency officials announced Sunday evening that the Sunshine Fire was 50 percent contained.

About 45 firefighters and 15 trucks were expected to monitor the fire containment overnight, with additional crews due in the morning to “hit it hard,” officials said.

There were some fears expressed Sunday evening that overnight firefighting efforts might be hampered by high winds expected around midnight.

Wagner said that 426 homes in the area would remain under a mandatory evacuation order, and officials would reevaluate the evacuations on Monday morning. He said the evacuations were necessary because fire crews would be limited as to what they can do overnight.

Another 836 homes in the city of Boulder, mostly around the mouth of Boulder Canyon, remain on pre-evacuation alert as well.

“Things get exponentially more complex in the dark,” he said. “They’re hoping they can keep control of it overnight and really start mopping up tomorrow.”

The East Boulder Community Center opened up as a shelter for any residents who didn’t have somewhere else to stay because of the evacuations.

Among those forced to leave their homes was Anne Spalding, who came to the Boulder County Justice Center for an update on the status of the evacuations Sunday afternoon.

Spalding said she was staying at her sister’s house, but there was a possibility that her sister also would be evacuated. She said she has received offers from friends with places to stay should that happen.

“It’s really close to my house,” Spalding said. “We didn’t even get a call. We had firefighters knocking on the door. They are doing a fabulous job. It’s a little scary. We put our hearts into our homes.”

Spalding said she has been evacuated before and was “a little more tempermental about it” the first time around, but she grabbed her stuff and left with no argument Sunday morning.

“It’s a bummer,” she said. “I’d rather be at my house in bed, but I have a lot of faith in the firefighters. I think it’s going to be OK. I’m being cautiously optimistic.”

The fire was first reported at about 1:40 a.m. Sunday by a man who said he saw flames near Sunshine Canyon and Timber Lane.

Throughout the day Sunday, about 250 firefighters and 50 firefighting vehicles were deployed to the area, and used the Boulder County Justice Center parking lot in west Boulder as a base of operations.

Seven aircraft took to the skies above the fire, including two Black Hawk helicopters and two Chinook helicopters. Monday, Wagner said, they’re expecting a reduction in air support and a smaller helicopter that can drop water in tighter spaces.

Wagner said firefighters will focus on digging lines around the fire.

“The main strategy is to keep it within the perimeter,” he said.

Fire officials had been expecting a rough day because of high temperatures and windy weather. Because March is outside the typical fire season, Wagner said, there also were fewer wildfire hand crews available to help, so firefighters were being taken off trucks to form hand crews.

After a relatively calm morning, winds began to pick up around 10 a.m., with gusts in the 40 mph range reported in the afternoon.

Sunday’s high in Boulder reached 78 degrees, breaking the old record of 77 from 2004, according to local meteorologist Matt Kelsch.

The National Weather Service was forecasting more warm, windy and dry weather that will keep the fire danger high today.

Mappers reported the fire to be 106 acres at one point on Sunday, but Gabi Boerkircher, a spokeswoman for the Boulder Office of Emergency Management, said crews on the ground determined the fire was closer to 60 acres.

Mid-afternoon, emergency officials also revised the number of homes evacuated in the Sunshine Canyon area to 426, down from the 1,031 that sheriff’s officials had announced before dawn.

Denise White, another spokeswoman with the Boulder Office of Emergency Management, said more than 1,000 people were contacted by phone in the early morning hours, but many lived in the same house.

Boulder Canyon was closed to the public most of the day Sunday but had been reopened to traffic in the evening.

Some residents in the pre-evacuation zone in the Highland neighborhood were watching the fire from Eben G. Fine Park on Sunday morning and waiting to see whether the wind picked up before packing.

Ben Egner said that while he hadn’t packed anything yet, he had a list in his head that included musical instruments, books, his hard drive and his dog, Petunia.

He said he found out about the fire after getting a text from a neighbor early Sunday morning.

For another neighbor, Beth Prehn, it was a phone call from a friend at 5:30 a.m. that alerted her. At about 7 a.m., she took a picture of flames lighting up Sunshine Canyon.

“That was scary,” she said.

Later, looking at smoke instead of flames, “I feel a lot better,” she said.

Photo from 

Comments from Daily Camera Facebook page:

Would some small scale control burns in the middle of winter help this situation on the front range? I am sure there has been a lot of discussion around this. It seems like it would control the spread of fire during the summer?

(Reply) What would help more is to control the bums wandering around drunk and stoned in the mountains.


What would help most of all is for Boulder City Council to require that local nonprofits render aid only to homeless people with valid photo ID showing a Boulder County address, and proof of at least one year’s residency. Transients from elsewhere could be given bus tickets on RTD bound for Denver (where many of them lived previously) and sack lunches to-go.

(This post e-mailed to Boulder City Council.)

Random stuff 3/17/2017


By Max R. Weller

1) My Viking ancestors founded the City of Dublin, during a pause from pillaging the bog-dwelling inhabitants of Ireland. As the old Danish saying goes, “Irerne kan ikke gøre god spiritus, og de kan ikke holde deres spiritus.”

2) What a hideously ugly design for the New Civic Area bridge installed over Boulder Creek! It looks like a giant cabbage shredder:

3) I’m happy to report that NOT a single refugee from Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow — which is now opening on a weather-dependent basis rather than nightly — showed up in the area of my campsite in north Boulder. The smart thing would have been for this nonprofit and/or the city to hand out tickets on RTD bound for Denver on BOHO’s last night of partying, March 15th. It’s just asking for more trouble to allow a hundred or more of the worst-behaved transients to wander the streets during the overnight hours . . .

4) I bought enough hot fish sandwiches at King Soopers this morning for both breakfast and lunch, along with Kraft brand tartar sauce. I love these things!

5) There are always a FEW normal human beings to be seen here at Boulder’s Main Library, 1001 Arapahoe. True, you have to search for ’em, but they can be found.