New burn permits required by new fire district in Rifle area |

New burn permits required by new fire district in Rifle area

Amanda H. Miller
Citizen Telegram Contributor
This screen shot shows a portion of the Colorado River Fire Rescue’s new online burn permit. The merger of the Rifle and Burning Mountains Fire Protection District led to a new permit process that requires farmers and ranchers to apply twice a year.
Staff Photo |

It’s burn season. But before area ranchers and farmers strike the match, they’ll need to get a permit from the soon-to-be newly-formed Colorado River Fire Protection District.

The district is the result of a merger between the Rifle and Burning Mountains fire protection districts, expected to be formally approved later this month. With the new fire district comes a new burn permit process.

“Since we’ve combined, we’ve really tried to make it easier for us and for the people applying for a permit,” said Orrin Moon, district fire marshal.

Where one department used to issue two-week permits and the other issued year-long burn permits, the new district issues spring and summer permits. The spring permit started Jan. 1 and goes through Memorial Day on May 26. The fall permits will start on Labor Day, if conditions are favorable, and go through the end of the year.

“They can burn as much as they need to, as many times as they need in that time,” Moon said.

There will be no summer burning unless an extreme circumstance calls for a special burn permit, he added.

Digital age

The permit application is online at, along with the regulations and requirements for a burn permit.

Once applications are submitted digitally, permits are automatically emailed to the applicant. Moon reviews the applications and makes sure everything is in order within a couple days of receiving the application, he said.

“If everybody reads the directions, there are usually no issues,” Moon said.

With more than 260 permits already issued, Moon said he’s only had to call one applicant for clarification.

If an applicant doesn’t have internet access or doesn’t want to apply for a permit online, the district will fill out the online application for anyone who walks into the office or calls. Moon said he’s happy to fax or mail permits, too.

State law does not require burn permits for agricultural purposes. But the district does require anyone who burns ditches, crops or foliage to apply for a permit in advance, and to call emergency dispatch the day of a scheduled burn.

“The main goal of a burn permit is so we’re not dispatched every time someone drives by an agricultural burn,” Moon said.

When passersby call to report a fire, it will likely be investigated before needlessly dispatching a team of firefighters, if there is an active burn permit in the area, Moon said.


Anyone applying for a burn permit will have to read the rules and regulations before submitting an application. However, Moon said there are some key precautions and issues area applicants need to keep top of mind:

If burning natural wood or other matter, the applicant also needs a clean air permit from the state. Links to those permit applications are also available on the fire district website.

Permit holders must call dispatch the morning they plan to conduct a burn.

Permit holders must have the means to control a burn and access to enough water to put a fire out.

If the wind picks up to five miles per hour or more, permit holders must put the fire out.

No burning is allowed on days when there is a red flag warning.

“One big thing,” Moon said. “Anything meant to go to the dump, should go to the dump. No one should be burning tires, plastic bottles or anything other than natural wood.”

Anyone who has questions can call the fire district at 625-1243.

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