The Fourth of July holiday weekend will see Stage 1 fire restrictions expanded to include all lands managed by the White River National Forest, as well as federal lands in Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
According to a joint Forest Service/BLM press release, restrictions were already put in place during June for private lands within all of the fire protection districts in Garfield County, and within Glenwood Springs city limits.
On Thursday, Pitkin and Eagle counties joined in implementing the first-stage fire restrictions for private lands.
Nearby Mesa and Summit counties, including the Dillon Ranger District and BLM lands in Summit County, and BLM lands managed by the Grand Junction Field Office, were also already under Stage 1 fire restrictions.
Those restrictions include:
- Campfires are only allowed within designated metal, in-ground fire grates in developed campgrounds (fire pans and rock campfire rings are not acceptable)
- No fires of any type, including charcoal, outside of developed areas
- No smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or in a barren area free of vegetation
- No use of explosive materials, including explosive targets
- No welding or operation of an acetylene or other similar torch with open flame, except in an area that has been cleared of vegetation
- No operation of any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed and in working order
Fireworks use is never allowed on federal land, even those types of fireworks that are legal to purchase in Colorado, according to the release.
Although conditions vary across the area, a longer-term drying trend is expected, public lands fire management officials said.
“Fire restrictions are prudent at this time given the long-range forecast, the continued high public visitation, and the extra precautions needed this year with the pandemic,” White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said in the release.
Added BLM Colorado River Valley Field Manager Larry Sandoval, “As conditions dry, we are seeing more human-caused fires across the area.”
Sandoval also issued a reminder to visitors using developed areas where campfires are permitted to ensure camp fires are completely out before leaving.
According to the release, officials consider a number of criteria when determining the need for fire restrictions, including current and anticipated fire danger, resource availability, and consistency with neighboring jurisdictions.
Local, county, state and federal officials within the Upper Colorado River fire management area evaluate and coordinate fire restrictions weekly during fire season.