BLM institutes fire restrictions |

BLM institutes fire restrictions

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

SILT, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management will impose fire restrictions on BLM lands in the Roaring Fork Valley and elsewhere starting July 2.

The restrictions cover lands in Pitkin, Eagle, Garfield and Mesa counties, plus portions of southern Rio Blanco and Routt counties, and northern portions of Delta and Montrose counties.

Hot, dry weather has increased fire danger to high levels below 8,000 feet, according to the agency, prompting the restrictions.

The restrictions mean campfires are only allowed within designated fire grates in developed campgrounds. Fire pans are not acceptable.

The restrictions also mean:

• No fires of any type, including charcoal, are allowed outside of developed areas.

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• Smoking is not allowed on BLM land, except in an enclosed vehicle or building, at a developed recreation site or in a barren area that is free of vegetation.

• Use of explosive materials is prohibited, as is use of a welding torch, acetylene torch or similar torch with an open flame.

• Operation of any internal combustion engine (a chainsaw, for example) without a functioning spark-arresting device is prohibited.

The use of fireworks is always prohibited on federal lands.

The White River, Grand Mesa, Uncompaghre and Gunnison national forests are not enacting fire restrictions at this time because those lands are at generally higher elevations where more moist conditions still exist, according to the BLM.

Visitors to the national forest are, however, urged to be careful with fires, smoking, chainsaw use and vehicle exhaust systems and converters, all of which can spark wildfires.

Violations of the BLM restrictions are punishable by a fine of not more than $100,000 and prison time. Those found responsible for starting a wildfire will also face restitution costs associated with fighting the fire, according to the BLM.

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