Garfield County reinstates Stage 1 fire restrictions
The Garfield County Sheriff, along with the county’s seven fire districts, have implemented Stage 1 fire restrictions effective Friday.
The restrictions apply to all of unincorporated parts of Garfield County. Stage 1 restrictions are also in effect in many municipalities, including Glenwood Springs.
“This decision was not made without thoughtful consideration,” the Sheriff’s Office states in a news release announcing the return to fire restrictions. The county had lifted the fire ban in late May after they had been in effect through the early spring.
“We look at the data, the potential for significant wildfires and balance it with the impacts to our community,” the release states. “Our concern, with the level of fire danger we are seeing; one spark could quickly spread into a dangerous wildfire threatening lives, property and natural resources.
According to the release, fire restrictions are implemented based on specific criteria, including moisture content of vegetation, weather outlooks, human risk factors and firefighting resource availability.
Recent hot, dry and windy weather was also a factor in the decision.
“So far this year, we’ve had 15 ‘red flag warnings,’ which is more than what we typically see over an entire year,” the release states. “The National Weather Service is forecasting above average temperatures and dry conditions with no relief from rain anytime soon.
“With increasingly dry vegetation, severe drought conditions, and Fourth of July celebrations approaching, the danger for human-caused wildfires increases even more.”
• Fireworks are not allowed under Stage I Fire Restrictions. Professional fireworks shows may be allowed through the permitting process.
• All open burn permits are postponed/canceled until further notice.
• Campfires are only allowed within designated fire grates in developed (irrigated) areas, such as a permanent in-ground containment structure or store-bought fire pit. A temporary fire pan and rock campfire rings are not acceptable.
• No fires of any type, including charcoal, in undeveloped (wild) areas.
• No smoking except within a designated area, enclosed vehicle or building, a developed area or in an area free of combustibles.
• No use of fireworks or explosive materials, including “exploding” targets or bullets and tracer rounds.
• Exercise common sense and industry safety practice when welding or operation of an acetylene or other similar torch with open flame always cleared safe area of vegetation and combustibles.
Causing a fire during fire restrictions can be a class 6 felony and can be punishable by fines. Other possible charges include Fourth Degree Arson (M2) and Intentionally Setting a Wildfire (F3). You may also be held financially responsible for damage caused.
The use of fireworks, flares or other incendiary devices, including exploding targets, are always prohibited on Federal lands.
Source: Garfield County Sheriff
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