Glenwood Springs fire officials urge residents to heed fire restrictions and safe practices |

Glenwood Springs fire officials urge residents to heed fire restrictions and safe practices

A positive example of cleared out brush surrounding a home for fire mitigation.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Glenwood Springs Fire Department officials urge residents to adhere to the Stage 1 fire restrictions in Glenwood Springs and have plans in place in the event of a wildfire.

“Make sure you avoid the possibility of ladder fuels, going from grass to shrubs to taller trees,” said Greg Bak, fire protection analyst for the Glenwood Springs Fire Department.

An example of ladder fuels leading up to and surrounding a structure.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Bak said Stage 1 fire restrictions are meant to eliminate people building rock circles to create a wood fire.

Only permanent, in-ground containment structures are allowed to be used for fires while under stage one restrictions.

“If they’re in a place with a good fixed in-ground facility that’s already met the criteria and isn’t under any trees, then that’s OK,” Bak said.

“The problem with those fires is when the wind comes up it can blow the embers out of those things. With your gas fire device, wind comes up and you can shut it off. There are no embers to come off of it or to be blown off of it.”

Glenwood Springs Fire Dept. Fire Marshall Greg Bak talks about brush and grass that can be cut down and trimmed back from.a structure as part of fire mitigation.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Glenwood Springs Fire Chief Gary Tillotson said his jurisdiction is somewhat unusual compared to other fire districts in that there are not a lot of primitive campgrounds within the Glenwood Springs response area.

“I think we went up into Four Mile Park a couple of times to put out some campfires last year — not so much so far this year,” Tillotson said.

Fuel moistures in the area are particularly low for this time of year, which adds to the fire danger, Tillotson said.

The Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit monitors fuel moistures on a weekly basis by taking a piece of fuel, weighing it, then baking the moisture out before weighing it once more to calculate the fuel moisture.

“Already fuel moistures this year are very near what they were last year at this time,” Tillotson said. “And in some cases, some of the fuels have set record lows for moisture. Those samples came out of the Rifle Airport and South Canyon.”

Tillotson said the low fuel moistures are in part due to low nighttime humidities over the last couple weeks.

“So all of that lack of moisture just leads to increased volatility of willingness to burn for those fuels,” Tillotson said.

Fuels are anything from grasses to heavy timber, he added.

Ladder Fuels

A ladder fuel is a type of fuel that can carry a fire burning in low-growing vegetation to taller vegetation.

Examples of ladder fuels include low-hanging tree branches or shrubs and trees beneath the canopy of a larger tree.

Pruning and removal of shrubs or trees can help reduce ladder fuels.


Be Ready …

To prepare for wildfires, the Glenwood Springs Fire Department wants residents to take personal responsibility by creating defensible space zones around homes and properties.

Store firewood and other combustible materials at least 30 feet away from your home.

Remove loose vegetation from the yard in the area 30 to 100 feet from home.

Trim and remove dead vegetation within 100-200 feet.

Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or

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