Rifle Mountain Park fire restrictions take effect
Citizen Telegram Editor
The hot, dry and windy conditions of the past month that helped three wildfires burn more than 1,000 acres around Rifle so far this summer have also led to some fire restrictions.
Today, June 27, the city of Rifle will institute fire restrictions at Rifle Mountain Park.
But it appears the skies over Rifle will be lit by a fireworks display on Wednesday, July 3, said City Manager Matt Sturgeon.
“We talked with the folks at Colorado River Fire Rescue and we’re all in support of having the fireworks,” he said Tuesday. “It’s an irrigated area” at Rifle Middle School, where the fireworks will be launched, and Centennial Park, a good viewing area.
Last year, the city cancelled the fireworks display due to similar weather conditions, and Sturgeon said that still could be the case this year.
“We have a week to go, and if the weather conditions warrant it, we can cancel it,” he stated. “But I’d say there’s a very good chance we will have the show.”
Sturgeon noted that since the fireworks will be launched from the middle school football field, people will not be able to enter Centennial Park from the north. The Third and Fifth Street entrances should be used instead.
In light of the stage I fire restrictions by the Bureau of Land Management in Northwest Colorado, the White River National Forest and the National Park Service-Colorado National Monument, and after consultation with Colorado River Fire Rescue, Sturgeon said fire restrictions would be put in place at Rifle Mountain Park, 13 miles north of the city.
The restrictions prohibit fires, campfires, the use of charcoal grills, coal, a wood burning stove or sheepherders stove in undeveloped areas of the park. Smoking is only allowed within a vehicle, trailer, building or tent in a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable vegetation.
The use of explosives requiring a fuse or blasting caps, fireworks, rockets, exploding targets and tracers or incendiary ammunition are also banned. Operating or using any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order, such as on chain saws and other hand-held equipment, is also banned, along with welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame.
Exemptions from the restrictions include fires in constructed, permanent fire pits or fire grates within developed recreation sites at the park and mechanical stoves and appliances fueled by bottled liquid gas, which allows the operator to control or extinguish the flame with a valve.
Sturgeon said most of the restrictions are everyday policy at the park, “but this will get people thinking about the significance of following the rules.”
Tougher restrictions could be imposed in coming weeks at the park, he added, depending on weather and fire danger.
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Rifle City Manager Scott Hahn plans to transition out of his position over the next several months, according to a city of Rifle news release.