Eagle County lifting fire restrictions on Friday | AspenTimes.com

Eagle County lifting fire restrictions on Friday

Officials still urging caution with backcountry fires

Fire managers and officials with state and local agencies have agreed to officially rescind all fire restrictions in Eagle County beginning Friday at 12:01 a.m.

Officials agree that recent moisture, increased humidity and cooler overnight temperatures have helped reduce the current fire danger. Officials still recommend using precautions as conditions remain dry and diligence is always needed in ensuring campfires are completely out, and watched closely when in use.

Still, it’s relatively easy to start a wildfire.

“Just because we’ve come out of restrictions doesn’t mean there’s no risk,“ White River National Forest Public Information Officer Kelsha Anderson said, adding that most of the forest is still quite dry.

But conditions have improved, lowering the “energy release component” of fuels to below the 75th percentile. That’s the level at which fire restrictions are usually imposed.

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Anderson added that people need to continue to be careful with campfires, noting that someone should be tending that fire at all times, and the fire should be completely extinguished before leaving a campsite.

Anderson noted that U.S. Forest Service rangers have had “a number of conversations” with campers about fire safety and the need for restrictions.

Pitkin and Garfield counties also announced this week they are lifting all of their restrictions starting Friday.

Recent fire restrictions prohibited campfires, smoking in certain areas, cutting, welding, and/or grinding near dry vegetation, operating certain types of vehicles without spark arrestors and the use of steel core or jacketed ammunition. Please keep in mind that the use of exploding targets, tracer rounds, steel core ammunition or fireworks remains prohibited on all federal lands at all times.

Tracy LeClair, the Eagle River Fire Protection District’s Community Risk Manager and Public Information Officer, said officials will continue to monitor conditions through the rest of the summer.

LeClair noted that the historic wildfire season starts about now — the last several years being the exception to that trend.

“If we can continue to see afternoon showers — as long as they’re not accompanied by lightning — we could see (conditions) continue to moderate,” LeClair said.

For more information about fire restriction in Eagle County, go to http://www.ecemergency.org. View fire information across Colorado at http://www.coemergency.com/p/fire-bans-danger.html.

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