Fire restrictions lifted in county, on public lands | PostIndependent.com

Fire restrictions lifted in county, on public lands

Following a full summer of stringent fire restrictions, Garfield County fire districts and the White River National Forest have decided to lift all restrictions for unincorporated private lands and area public lands starting Friday.

Fire restrictions will no longer be in effect for unincorporated areas of the county, as well as municipalities and all lands within the Colorado River Valley Field office of the Bureau of Land Management. Other area counties and municipalities have also announced that restrictions have been lifted.

According to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, the joint decision was made by the county and public lands officials, along with the six fire districts serving Garfield County — Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District, the Glenwood Springs Fire Department, Colorado River Fire Rescue, Grand Valley Fire, Gypsum Fire and the De Beque and Lower Valley Fire.

“This collaborative effort by all parties involved acknowledges the public’s efforts to recreate responsibly while maintaining a level of safety for everyone,” according to the news release. “The joint movement to lift fire restrictions will serve to reduce confusion of where and what is allowed throughout Garfield County.”

At the same time, people out camping or hunting are reminded that, while campfires are allowed, “we are still experiencing extremely dry conditions,” according to the release.

“Please take extra care when starting your campfire to assure that it is in a safe location, properly banked and you have the means, readily available, to extinguish it,” officials are advising. “Smaller fires are better, and cook stoves are much easier to prepare your food on than an open fire.”

Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire managers (UCR) base decisions about fire restrictions on moisture measurements in vegetation and other risk factors, such as weather forecasts, according to the White River National Forest.

“The best available science, recent measurements, and predictive models have shown a marked improvement in conditions leading to a significant decrease in wildfire risk,” the federal lands agency stated in a separate release Thursday.

Garfield County officials advise that people should still refrain from burning slash piles or accumulated wood debris. Burn permits are still required for these activities, and can be obtained through local fire departments on a case by case basis.

jstroud@postindependent.com