A Castle Valley home was destroyed late Saturday evening, July 18 when a fast-moving fire ravaged the structure and contents within a short period of time. The Castle Valley Fire Department was paged out to 272 Creekside Lane, which is located off of the Castleton Road, at 10:23 p.m. for a reported structure fire.
Within minutes the first arriving Castle Valley unit found the structure and a vehicle fully engulfed in flames while a grass fire was quickly spreading out of control behind the building. The first engine and crew began working on the grass fire while the second and third arriving engines attacked the building and vehicle. Both fires were soon contained but the home was already a total loss.
Moab Valley Fire Department sent two engines to the scene and their firefighters relieved the Castle Valley crew to do the overhaul work and put out the remaining hidden fires. The two fire departments completed the incident at 2:05 a.m.
The Castle Valley Fire Department remained on the scene until about 10 a.m. with two engines and a team of two people working two-hour shifts during the night to put out small fires that started in various parts of the house until it was determined that the fire was completely out by mid-morning Sunday. In all, 12 Castle Valley firefighters with six engines responded to the scene and eight Moab Fire Department personnel with two engines combined to put out the fire.
The home was owned by James Dixon of Prescott, Arizona and was being rented to a Castle Valley woman. The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the Grand County Sheriff’s Office and the value of the home is undetermined but significant.
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The Castle Valley Town Council addressed a full agenda of business during the regular monthly meeting July 15, including a public hearing on the Castle Valley General Plan. Except for a few corrections to the plan, there were no other public comments.
The general plan is reviewed and updated every five years to ensure the protection of our unique character, clean air and water and quality of life, which includes the viewshed, open space and dark skies. Preserve strong sense of community and diversity, protect persons and property from hazards and to preserve and enhance the natural environment and natural resources.
Speaking about administrative matters during the regular council meeting, Council Member Tory Hill said that the Grand County Cemetery District is planning to get a bid for a solar pump to be placed in the well located at the cemetery. Their plan is to plant a few trees and provide a bench for people to gather in the shade.
There was a lot of discussion about speed limits on the side roads in the community. The council eventually voted to set the speed limit on all of the dirt roads at 15 mph. Some initially thought 15 was too slow but others said people will drive 20 mph anyway. The purpose is to slow the wear and tear of the roads but primarily to keep the dust to a minimum when people drive on the side roads.
Council Member Harry Holland suggested a sign at the entrance to the community to explain the speed limit and its purpose. The sign will be posted at 15 mph unless posted otherwise. Currently, Castle Valley Drive is posted at 25 mph in the lower valley where there are tight and blind turns and 30 mph along the straight sections. The 15-mph limit would be on the side dirt roads except to the upper 80 section of the valley where a 20-mph limit will be posted.
There was also much discussion about approving the 2020 general plan, which was recently updated by the Planning and Land Use Commission. Several members of the council had changes or additions. They were to submit the changes to Town Clerk Jocelyn Buck, who would edit the information and put them in the final draft.
On another discussion but related to the general plan, Council Member Hill quoted from the hazard mitigation plan and the general plan about contamination of wells, which brought her to her point of the use of rotomill material on the roads and the pollution to the sole-source aquifer in the valley. The council approved her motion that as a policy the town will not use rotomill on the public roads. The council also approved, with a few additions, Resolution 2020-8, the adoption of the 2020 Hazard Mitigation Plan.