Area federal lands to move back to Stage 1 fire restrictions
Recent rains locally have lessened fire danger, meaning area lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Managements will move back to Stage 1 fire restrictions starting Friday.
The change affects all lands in the White River National Forest, as well as BLM lands in Garfield, Eagle, Pitkin and Summit counties.
Unincorporated private lands in Eagle, Pitkin and Summit counties will also move to Stage 1 Friday. Garfield and Mesa counties had already lowered to Stage 1 restrictions last week. Unincorporated and BLM-managed lands in Rio Blanco County will remain in Stage 2 fire restrictions.
According to a joint BLM/USFS press release, the primary difference between the two stages of restrictions for people recreating on public land is that under Stage 1, campfires and charcoal are allowed only in designated, metal fire grates in developed campgrounds and picnic areas. Under stage 2, no campfires or charcoal are allowed anywhere, the release states.
Gas-fueled camping equipment such as stoves and lanterns are allowed under both stages of restrictions as long as there is a shut-off valve.
Fireworks, exploding targets, tracer rounds and other explosive materials are never allowed on national forest or BLM lands.
“The recent rains have provided us some relief from extreme conditions, so we are lowering fire restrictions,” White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said in the release. “Although the fire danger has lessened, people will still need to be vigilant with campfires in the areas where they are allowed.”
Added BLM Colorado River Valley Field Manager Larry Sandoval, “Fuel conditions can change quickly on BLM-managed lands. We will continuing to monitor conditions to see if they hold, further improve or worsen over the next couple of weeks. We’ll adjust fire restrictions accordingly,” he said
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, the release states.
Local, county, state and federal officials within the UCR area evaluate and coordinate fire restrictions weekly during fire season.
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