Fire ban fever spreads to Pitkin County |

Fire ban fever spreads to Pitkin County

Pitkin County has added itself to the list of counties with fire bans, brought on by dry weather and low moisture content in trees and other vegetation.

“The fire restrictions may be lifted, but only after a prolonged and significant change in our weather pattern,” said Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis.

Garfield County imposed burning restrictions on private lands May 6, six weeks earlier that last year.

Eagle County, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service also imposed restrictions last week.

The White River National Forest fire bans cover Garfield, Pitkin, Eagle, Gunnison, Mesa and Summit counties.

Pitkin County’s fire ban is similar to others. Outdoor burning is banned except for fire pits with grates in an approved campground or picnic area. Outdoor cooking is allowed on propane stoves.

Garfield County’s fire ban prohibits trash fires, fires along fence rows, and charcoal grill fires except in fire pits in designated campgrounds and recreation areas. Smoking is also prohibited outdoors except within an enclosed vehicle or developed recreation area.

In Garfield County and on public lands, chain saws cannot be operated without a USDA or SAE approved spark arrester, and operators must keep a pressurized fire extinguisher nearby.

Irrigation ditches surrounded by irrigated farmland, where such burning is necessary for crop survival, is allowed with a permit from the Garfield County sheriff.

The Garfield County ban remains in effect until June 3, when the county commissioners will consider extending it. Last year’s Garfield County fire ban went from June 17 to Aug. 17.

In the White River National Forest, petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns and heating devices are allowed throughout the forest, providing the devices meet safety specifications.

On BLM and Forest Service lands, fireworks and explosives requiring a fuse or blasting cap are prohibited until further notice.

In Eagle County, on private property, containers and appliances designed for cooking are excluded from the ban.

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