Fire ban now in effect
July 18, 2005
Two straight weeks of hot, dry weather have prompted officials in Eagle and Pitkin counties to enact broad bans on fires. The White River National Forest and the State of Colorado are expected to announce similar restrictions on state and federal lands.Scott Thompson, of the Basalt and Rural Fire Protection District, said Monday was the eighth consecutive day that conditions have placed his jurisdiction in the “critical category” for wildfire risk.”I’ve been checking the [National] Weather Service and there’s no relief in sight,” Thompson said, adding that lightning ignited several small blazes over the weekend, including one in the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness that continues to burn.The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office said in a printed statement that “the combination of high winds, low humidity and dry fuels has created a critical fire danger situation.”Starting at midnight tonight, the following will be prohibited: Fires on private property, except in gas grills and stoves, permanent charcoal grills and wood fires in permanent fire pits. Fireworks or explosives. Smoking, except in buildings or vehicles. Internal combustion engines (such as chain saws or motorcycles) without a properly installed spark arrester.