Friday, April 20, 2018

Update: Skipper Island Fire Day 3

5:00 pm Final Update: The Skipper Island Fire is now 100% contained. Crews will continue to monitor the fire for flare ups over the next several days. I70 is currently closed in both directions to allow Xcel crews to repair power lines damaged by the fire. Check with CDOT for the latest information on road closures.

2:00 pm UPDATE: Significant progress has been made on the Skipper Island Fire. Total acreage is 220 acres. The fire area north of I-70 is 100% contained. The fire area south of I-70 is 70% contained.


MESA COUNTY, Colo - The Skipper Island Fire is still actively burning south of I70 and north of the Colorado River. I70 was closed again Friday morning when winds flared up the fire again near the interstate. I70 is now back open as of 8:30 am.

The fire on the north side of I70 is 90% contained. The fire on the south side of I70 is 30% contained.

As of Thursday afternoon the fire burned 50 acres, it has grown since then. This morning crews are assessing the current acreage. We will post an update once one is available.

No structures or home are being threatened by the fire. NO evacuations are anticipated.

Many agencies have worked countless hours in very difficult conditions to contain this fire. Those agencies include the Mesa County Sheriff Wildland Fire Team, Lower Valley Fire District, BLM, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Division of Fire Prevention and Control, Grand Junction Fire Department, De Beque Fire Department, Palisade Fire Department, Clifton Fire Department, East Orchard Mesa Fire Department, Plateau Valley Fire Department, Xcel Energy, Grand Valley Power, Mesa County Sheriff's Office, Colorado State Patrol, Frutia Police Department, CDOT and other partner agencies.

Today winds are again expected to be a challenge for firefighters. Air drops from the Type I helicopter will resume at 9:00 am. Today crews from the Mesa County Sheriff Wildland Fire Team, Lower Valley Fire District, Division of Fire Prevention and Control, Grand Junction Fire Department, De Beque Fire Department, Palisade Fire Department are fighting the fire.

There is smoke in the area and will continue to be for sometime. It is advised to stay indoors and limit your outdoor activity, especially if you have respiratory issues. For a full list of recommendations from the Mesa County Department of Public Health click here.

Also thank you to the public for donations of food and water to the firefighters. We have plenty of food and water and are not seeking any more.

Please be aware, no fire agency associated with the Skipper Island Fire is soliciting donations for gift cards or money to help with this fire. If you see someone asking for gift cards or money, it could be a scam.

For the previous press release click here.

For photos, video and the latest information on the fire follow the Mesa County Sheriff's Office Facebook Page.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Skipper Island Fire now 12 acres

Skipper Island Fire Wednesday night
Update 1:00pm: The Skipper Island Fire is now 15-20 acres with 0% containment. No homes or structures are being threatened. View the MCSO Facebook page for more photos.

MESA COUNTY, Colo - Mesa County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a wildfire burning south of I-70 and north of the Colorado River near mile marker 18 around 7:00 pm Wednesday. The fire is burning in an area known as Skipper Island in the Horsethief Canyon State Wildlife Area.

Skipper Island Fire has burned 12 acres and is 0% contained.

Initial response included Lower Valley Fire Protection District, the Mesa County Sheriff Wildland Team and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Firefighters were pulled from the fire at 11:00 pm due to unsafe conditions caused by darkness.

Fire crews are continuing to suppress the wildfire today. The fire is very difficult to access burning in thick brush, tamarisk and trees. Winds are expected to pick up this afternoon. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning from noon to 9:00pm tonight.

The agencies working the Skipper Island Fire Thursday include the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office Wildland Fire Team, Lower Valley Fire District, BLM, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Grand Junction Fire Department.

No homes are structures are threatened by the fire.

The fire is believed to have been caused by a campfire.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Grand Junction Woman wanted for eluding law enforcement

Elizabeth Tafoya, 42
MCSO Photo
MESA COUNTY, Colo – Elizabeth Tafoya, 42, is wanted for eluding law enforcement in the early morning hours Friday.

Just after midnight, a Mesa County Sheriff’s deputy observed Tafoya run through a stop sign in the area of North Avenue and Morning Glory Lane in a green 1993 Toyota passenger car. When the deputy attempted to pull her over, Tafoya took off at a high rate of speed on 29 Road.

A short time later, Tafoya’s vehicle was spotted driving recklessly near the intersection of Texas Avenue and Melody Lane by another deputy.  Tafoya again failed to yield to law enforcement.

Tafoya was observed several times driving recklessly by deputies in the area,  at one point driving down the wrong side of the road, and two times appearing to try to hit a patrol vehicle.

Colorado State Patrol assisted in locating Tafoya’s vehicle and pursued it into the 2900 block of Texas Avenue, where she drove through a chain link fence and continued south bound through the dirt lot north of the Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Tafoya vehicle did collide with a Colorado State Patrol Vehicle, Tafoya did not stop.

Tafoya is wanted for 2 counts of Felony Vehicular Eluding, Aggravated Driving with a revoked driver status, habitual traffic offender, 2 counts of Attempted Vehicular Assault, Disregarding a traffic control device, Failure to yield at a stop sign, Criminal Mischief, and Failure to remain at the scene of an accident.

Tafoya seen driving away
from law enforcement
Tafoya also has two active warrants from unrelated cases.    

Tafoya was last seen driving in a green 1993 Toyota passenger car  in the area of 28 Road and I-70 Business Loop.

If you see Tafoya or have information as her to whereabouts call 911 or you can call Mesa County Crime Stoppers at (970) 241- STOP. Information reported to Crime Stoppers that leads to an arrest can earn you up to $1,000 cash reward and you will remain completely anonymous.