Glenwood Springs, Garfield County, area public lands enter Stage 2 fire restrictions Friday; includes ban on campfires
Stage 2 fire restrictions are set to go into effect Friday for Glenwood Springs and Garfield County, as well as area lands administered by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.
“There are a lot of natural challenges that will make this a long fire season, including dry conditions, wind, lightning and more, but I urge everyone to take extra precaution to prevent human-caused fires,” Glenwood Springs Fire Chief Gary Tillotson said in a city news release issued Thursday afternoon.
“These fire restrictions outline specific rules to help us minimize dangers that are in our control,” he said. “Please do not take a chance when it comes to fire safety.”
The restrictions are in effect on the White River National Forest and lands administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Garfield, Grand, Eagle, Summit, Routt, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties, the respective agencies announced.
“Recent hot and windy conditions across northwest Colorado have dried out fuels, providing optimal conditions for wildfires,” according to the BLM release.
The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, in a separate release, stated, “Fire restrictions are implemented based on specific criteria including moisture content of vegetation, weather outlooks, human risk factors and firefighting resource availability.
“With increasingly dry vegetation, severe drought conditions and Fourth of July celebrations approaching, the danger for human-caused wildfires increases even more.”
Stage 2 restrictions mean:
- No fireworks or any other explosive device using a fuse.
- No campfires, including backyard fire pits and developed camping and picnic grounds (gas fueled devices with a shut-off valve are allowed).
- No charcoal grills, coal or wood-burning stoves.
- No burn permits will be issued, and all previously issued burn permits are canceled.
- No smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, trailer, building or tent.
- No blasting caps, exploding targets, tracers or incendiary ammunition.
- No operating or using any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed and in working order.
- No operating a chainsaw without an approved spark arrester, and without a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher, and a round-point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches.
- No welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame (except with a current permit, contract or letter of authorization).
Use of firearms at shooting ranges or on private property is allowed. However, “The responsibility for ensuring safe fire conditions falls on the independent shooter,” according to the county and city news releases.
“Keeping a usable fire-extinguishing application method on hand is strongly recommended,” the release states, adding that the local fire department should be notified immediately in the event of a fire of any size.
The Garfield County and public land restrictions come as neighboring Pitkin County entered Stage 2 restrictions on Wednesday for both private and public lands. Eagle County is also set to enact Stage 2 restrictions on Friday.
County, state and federal officials coordinate and consider many factors when determining the need to implement fire restrictions, according to a joint news release issued by the White River National Forest and Colorado River Valley Field Office of the BLM.
“These include current and anticipated fire danger, availability of resources to fight the fire and concerns of neighboring jurisdictions,” the joint public lands release states. “Recent hot, dry and windy weather has increased fire danger.”
“The fuel conditions in our area are reaching historic lows; please be careful out there,” said BLM Colorado River Valley Field Manager Larry Sandoval.
Federal wildland firefighting crews have been busy in recent days fighting the Oil Springs Fire 20 miles south of Rangely in Rio Blanco County, estimated at 11,993 acres; the West Fire in northwest Moffat County, estimated at 3,100 acres; and the Muddy Slide Fire in Routt County estimated at 4,000 acres.
The restrictions also apply to BLM lands overseen by the Kremmling, White River and Little Snake field offices.
Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or email@example.com.
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Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon will continue to be closed due to “extreme damage” from the latest round of heavy rain and flooding Saturday night, the Colorado Department of Transportation announced Sunday afternoon.