National Forest, BLM enacting Stage 1 fire restrictions in Garfield, neighboring counties
Restrictions start Friday, join with local changes in Pitkin, Eagle, Garfield counties
Federal lands in and around the Roaring Fork and Colorado river valleys will be under Stage 1 fire restrictions starting Friday, officials with the White River National Forest and Bureau of Land Management announced Wednesday morning.
Local officials with Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties announced fire restrictions Tuesday that start this week; Pitkin County started its Stage 1 restrictions Wednesday, and Eagle and Garfield counties start Friday.
The current hot and dry weather pattern is expected to stay in the area for a while, and officials are also concerned about windy conditions.
“Fire restrictions are prudent at this time considering the long-range forecast, fuel moisture conditions on the ground and the continued high public visitation,” White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said in the news release.
Stage 1 restrictions per the U.S. Forest Service:
— Campfires are allowed only within designated fire grates in developed campgrounds (i.e. a metal, in-ground containment structure — fire pans and rock campfire rings are not acceptable)
— No fires of any type including charcoal outside of developed areas
— No smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or in a barren area free of vegetation
— No use of explosive materials, including explosive targets
— No welding or operation of an acetylene or other similar torch with open flame except from an area that has been cleared of vegetation
— No operation of any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed and in working order
Excessive heat warnings issued by the National Weather Service are in effect through the week as high temperatures are forecast to break records in western Colorado and eastern Utah.
“Triple digits will continue across many lower elevations with record highs being met or exceeded through Friday,” the NWS said in its hazardous weather update Wednesday morning. “Precipitation chances will slowly increase this afternoon and continue into the weekend with late-day storms mainly over the higher terrain, with the best focus across the south. Gusty winds and lightning appear the main concerns.”
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