On Thursday, June 13, during a regularly scheduled fire/rescue training session, representatives Swift Energy met with FLM volunteers to discuss its plans and what the area can expect in the next few months. Members of the community and La Plata County government were also in attendance.

The first site to be drilled in the area is the Waters well site which is about three miles northwest of Kline. The second site to be explored is the Kikel Ranch well site, about 3.5 miles southeast of Breen. Swift hopes to start construction of the Waters well by mid-July and start drilling in early to mid-August.

At this time, the company doesn’t anticipate doing any hydraulic fracking at the well. Fracking is injecting chemicals and water into the shale bed to free the oil for extraction. “We’re now planning to do this with no fracking stimulation,” Redweik said. “Our geologists think there are sufficient natural fractures so we might be able to do this without it.”

The area can anticipate increased traffic for two or three months, corporate manager Bob Redweik said, but Swift is contracting with the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office for additional patrolling by off-duty deputies. Because fire danger is so high right now, and because Swift is planning to flare, or burn off, any natural gas that is found in the exploratory stage of the drilling, Swift is planning to have a water truck standing by.

Swift presented Assistant Chief Garrett Vogel a check for $5,000 for Fort Lewis Mesa Fire Protection District to use toward equipment repairs or other necessary purchases.

FLMFPD firefighters were able to check out the emergency response routes Swift has determined, getting a bird’s-eye view using Google maps. Hard-copy maps of these sites are available at Station 3.

(Thanks to Ann Butler of the Durango Herald for her reporting on this meeting.)