Garfield County moves to Stage 2 fire restrictions
As temperatures soared to the high 90s this week, land and fire officials have enacted Stage 2 fire restrictions throughout Garfield County.
Beginning Friday, Stage 2 fire restrictions have started in Bureau of Land Management-administered lands in Garfield County. BLM elected to enact these restrictions in land they manage in Garfield County concurrent with the county moving into Stage 2 restrictions for unincorporated private and state lands.
Erin Carey with the U.S. Forest Service confirmed Thursday afternoon that the entire White River National Forest will go into Stage 2 fire restrictions as of 8 a.m. Friday.
Stage 2 fire restrictions prohibit:
• Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire, charcoal grill, coal, wood burning stove or sheepherders stove, including in developed camp and picnic grounds. Devices using pressurized liquid or gas are exempted;
• Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, trailer, building or tent;
• Using an explosive requiring fuse or blasting caps, rockets, exploding targets and tracers, or incendiary ammunition;
• Operating a chainsaw without an approved spark arrestor, and without a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher and a round-point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches that is readily available for use;
• Welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame except with a current permit, contract or letter of authorization.
The use of fireworks or other incendiary devices has always been prohibited on federal lands and was banned by the county commissioners in unincorporated parts of Garfield County on June 11.
Silt Mayor Keith Richel said Silt enacted Stage 2 fire restrictions on Monday with other Garfield County towns expected to follow suit. New Castle recently tightened its fire restrictions to include many of the items banned in Stage 2 fire restrictions, and Parachute fire restrictions follow the county, according to Grand Valley Fire Protection District Fire Chief David Blair.
Richel also posted Silt’s ordinance on irrigation water as a reminder to folks to ensure it is being followed.
“The police department will be hanging door signs on houses that are in violation of the code, or speaking to homeowners,” he posted. “The second violation will probably result in a ticket.”
Fire officials confirm causes of recent fires
Glenwood Springs Fire Chief Gary Tillotson provided updates to The Post Independent on some of the fires that residents have seen across the county in recent days. The Iron Mountain fire, which started on Monday night and covered only a few acres before being put out, was determined to be human-caused. He added that the fire occurred on BLM land and therefore was investigated by BLM officials and was determined not to be naturally caused, though officials could not pinpoint the exact cause.
A few days earlier, a wildfire was reported at the upper end of the Oak Meadows subdivision along Four Mile Road south of Glenwood Springs, causing evacuations of nearby residents. Tillotson confirmed the fire was caused by a mechanical failure in the electric system, though it was not a transformer as originally thought.
Concerned residents took to Facebook this week, reporting that somebody was burning furniture in South Canyon during one of the hottest weeks of the year. Tillotson said fire officials were called to the South Canyon Landfill this week after a pile a furniture caught fire as it was going through the shredder used to dispose of large furniture.
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A standoff between Garfield County and state public health officials over COVID-19 restrictions for certain business sectors in the county leaves Glenwood Springs stuck in the middle.