Fire season is underway in Colorado. Fire restrictions are in place in several counties, with more going into effect at the end of the week – including some where fires have already started.
Stage 1 restrictions start in Summit, Eagle, Pitkin and Grand counties on Friday, June 15, as well as in National Forest lands in Clear Creek and Boulder Ranger Districts within Boulder, Gilpin, Clear Creek, Jefferson and Park counties.
Stage 1 restrictions are already in effect for all of Mesa and Garfield counties and on unincorporated and private lands in Summit, Eagle and Pitkin counties.
The U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Upper Colorado River Fire Management Unit put out news releases (pdf) this week outlining what stage 1 fire restrictions mean:
• Campfires are only allowed within designated fire grates such as metal, in-ground containment structures. Fire pans and rock campfire rings are not acceptable.
• No fires of any type, including charcoal, outside of developed campgrounds.
• 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 and fireworks.
• No welding or operation of an acetylene or other similar torch with an open flame except in an area that has been cleared of vegetation.
• No operation of any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device, such as a [what?], properly installed and in working order.
National Forest lands will prohibit:
• Discharge of a firearm unless the shooter is in possession of a valid Colorado hunting license and lawfully involved in hunting and harvesting game.
Violating stage 1 fire restrictions can result in fines of up to $5,000 per individual or $10,000 for an organization, or six months imprisonment, or both.
“If responsible for causing a wildfire, one could be held accountable for suppression costs of that fire,” says the USDA Forest Service website.
There are not any fire restrictions yet this season for Larimer and Weld counties. For more information about fire restrictions in your county visit Colorado’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Fire Bans and Danger page.