PI Editorial: Stay cognizant of the high fire danger heading into summer | PostIndependent.com

PI Editorial: Stay cognizant of the high fire danger heading into summer

Post Independent Editorial Board

Don’t let the recent rainfall fool you. Garfield County is still in drought conditions and the risk of fire is very real. Both Friday and Saturday saw red flag warnings — meaning no open burning is allowed in the county on those days.

The prospect of a very dry late spring and summer should burn that admonition in everyone’s mind.

When it comes to fire protection and prevention, we can rely upon the professionals at the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and our local fire districts and departments to take proactive measures such as controlled burns, which they’ve been conducting throughout the Western Slope this spring.

The Glenwood Springs Post Independent is also happy to be partnering with the Garfield County Public Library to host a series of informational talks about climate change and fire risks this summer (more details to come).

Yet, as individuals we can significantly reduce the risk of human-caused fires, which account for nearly 85% of all wildland fires in the United States.

Here are a few tips to help prevent these types of fires.

  • Carry a fire extinguisher in your vehicle. Bring shovels and a bucket when you go camping. These are basic tools that could help you put out any small blaze if one occurs and make sure that any campfire is truly out and dead before heading back to civilization.
  • Taking a boat to Ruedi Reservoir? Make sure your trailer isn’t dragging chains or anything else that could kick up sparks and quickly lead to roadside blazes.
  • Considering burning leaves or other green waste in a bin at home? Take it to recycling instead.
  • Certain types of fireworks can be legally purchased in Garfield County, even though you can’t set them off here per emergency ordinance of the county commissioners. Consider not buying them, even if you have plans to go where it’s legal to use them. Most of the West faces drought conditions this summer, and fireworks just aren’t worth the risk anywhere.
  • If you’re a smoker, never, ever, ever throw your butt out the window. Not only are you littering, but also putting our public lands and our western communities at risk.

All of these things might seem small and like they won’t make a difference, but the more people we get to practice fire safety on a regular basis, the more likely we are to reduce the number of fires in our community.

The Post Independent editorial board members are Publisher Bryce Jacobson, Editor Peter Baumann, Managing Editor/Senior Reporter John Stroud, and community representatives Amy Connerton and Karl Oelke.

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