BLM fire restrictions take effect Thursday |

BLM fire restrictions take effect Thursday

The Bureau of Land Management is implementing fire restrictions on land managed by the agency’s Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction field offices. David Boyd, BLM public affairs specialist, said conditions lower than 8,000 feet are dry enough to call for a fire ban, which will take effect Thursday. Wildfire fuel, particularly cheatgrass and brush, is drier now than at this time in 2002 during the devastating Coal Seam Fire, Boyd said. “Fire danger is very high to extreme, depending on where you are,” Boyd said. He urged people using BLM land to be careful during activities that could start a fire. “Even pulling your vehicle off into the dry grass has started large fires,” he said. “The potential for a fire to take off in that dry grass is incredible.”The White River National Forest has no plans to immediately implement fire restrictions, but the forest is considering it, said WRNF spokeswoman Kristi Ponozzo. “We’re going to continue to monitor fuel moistures and look at predicted weather” and social considerations, such as Fourth of July celebrations, she said.”We hate to go into a fire restriction and then go out of them,” she said. “We want people to understand that this is a serious thing, and we don’t want to go arbitrarily into a fire restriction.”Lee Rickard, Rifle-based fire management officer for the BLM and the Forest Service, said the forest is damp enough in the high country such that fire restrictions there may not be warranted for another two weeks. Stage I fire restrictions take effect Thursday for all of Mesa County and public lands administered by the BLM in both Mesa and Garfield counties. General Garfield County fire restrictions took effect Monday. BLM fire restrictions include: Campfires are only allowed within designated fire grates in developed campgrounds. Fire pans are not acceptable. 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. No welding or operation of an acetylene or other similar torch with an open flame. No operation of any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed and in working order.

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