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Routt County in photos: April 27, 2013

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Steamboat Springs firefighters continue to battle a house fire on Elk Lane near the Steamboat Ski Area early Saturday morning. Photo by Scott Franz

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Smoke billows from the charred remains of a home on Elk Lane in Steamboat Springs on Saturday morning. Photo by Scott Franz

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The sun rises over the Yampa Valley in Steamboat Springs on Saturday while firefighters tend to the remnants of a house fire on Elk Lane. Photo by Scott Franz

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Residents along Elk Lane in Steamboat Springs awoke to emergency vehicles and heavy smoke Saturday morning as a fire consumed a neighbor's home. Photo by Scott Franz

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The Colorado Department of Transportation will spend $1 million to $2 million this summer on a permanent fix for a troublesome section of U.S. Highway 40 on the east side of Rabbit Ears Pass. Photo by Matt Stensland

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Fields of pristine snow blanket the ridge line of Big Agnes in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area on Friday. It may look pretty, but the Colorado Avalanche Information Center included Steamboat Springs in its warning of elevated risk for avalanches in a statewide assessment Friday. Deep-slab avalanches have taken a heavy toll on the state recently, most recently killing five experienced backcountry snowboarders last weekend at Loveland Pass. Michael Martin/courtesy

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Greater sage grouse. Submitted by: Julie Smith

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John Daschle fields emergency calls for Routt County Communications. After deploying to Afghanistan with the U.S. Air Force, Daschle coached basketball at Steamboat Springs High School before starting to work as an emergency dispatcher. Photo by Scott Franz

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Elijah Stevenson poses with one of the MV-22 Ospreys he piloted in Afghanistan. The aircraft is able to take off and land like a helicopter in war zones and also fly like a plane, and as of January, there are 119 MV-22s in service. Elijah Stevenson/courtesy

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Elijah Stevenson is at home with his sons Connor, left, and Emmett, center, and his wife, Kristin. Stevenson still travels monthly to San Diego to train and fly the MV-22 Osprey. Photo by Matt Stensland

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Undersheriff Ray Birch finds comfort riding his horse in an indoor arena at the Routt County Fairgrounds in Hayden with his wife, Marlene. Photo by Scott Franz

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Birch last deployed to Iraq in 2008, and he spent 191 days in Kirkuk, where he was charged with protecting an air base from insurgent attacks. Ray Birch/courtesy

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This bumper sticker is one of the many Kathy and Kevin Nerney display on their cars in support of their son Joseph, who has deployed to Afghanistan twice in the U.S. Marine Corps. Photo by Scott Franz

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Dean Smith, assistant manager at Yampa Valley Regional Airport, poses with photos that chronicle his extensive career as a military pilot. Smith has clocked 26,000 hours in the cockpit and flew Apache helicopters on combat missions in Afghanistan in 2001. Photo by Scott Franz

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Routt County Veterans Affairs officer Michael Condie often is one of the first points of contact for soldiers returning to Routt County. Condie helps veterans receive health and other benefits through the VA. Photo by Scott Franz

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Vietnam veteran Bob Mullen launched a support group in Steamboat Springs to help veterans overcome post-traumatic stress disorder. Mental disorders have become the leading injuries of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Photo by Scott Franz

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Hayden High School junior Virginia Jones is among a small group of Routt County high school students who are considering a future career in the military. Jones has taken the initial steps and tests required to join the Army and Navy. Photo by Scott Franz

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Steamboat Springs High School seniors, from left, Alex Alfone, Will Burrow and Mac Noel have enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. Photo by Scott Franz

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Hayden High School senior Jordan Ferrier has enlisted in the U.S. Army. Photo by Scott Franz

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Hahn's Peak resident and U.S. Marine Ty Upson takes in a summer sunset near Fallujah, Iraq, in 2006. According to the staff bio for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club coach, "spending two years in Mesopotamia taking on bad guys did little to tone down his zest and enthusiasm for skiing." Ty Upson/courtesy

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Advertisements for all branches of the military fill a bookshelf of the counseling office in Hayden High School. Five Routt County high school seniors have enlisted in the military this school year. Photo by Scott Franz

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Joseph Nerney’s family celebrates his homecoming in August. Courtesy photo

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Mike Cusanelli edits an essay he wrote for a class at Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus in Steamboat Springs. The 25-year-old Army veteran is working to earn his bachelor's degree in sustainability studies from the campus using the GI Bill. Photo by Scott Franz

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John Daschle served as a logistics officer at the Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan. John Daschle/courtesy

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As a forward observer charged with clearing airspace and calling in airstrikes, Mike Cusanelli constantly was on patrol in the Helm province of Afghanistan. Prior to that deployment, he served as a driver in the Al Anbar province of Iraq. Mike Cusanelli/courtesy

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Marines walk past the aftermath of a mortar explosion in Fallujah, Iraq, during one of Ty Upson’s two deployments to the country. Ty Upson/courtesy

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