Fire restrictions in place for most areas of Pitkin, Garfield, Eagle counties going into holiday weekend
STAGE 1 RESTRICTIONS
Stage 1 fire restrictions include:
— Campfires are only allowed within designated metal, in-ground fire grates in developed campgrounds (fire pans and rock campfire rings are not acceptable);
— No fires of any type, including charcoal, outside of developed areas;
— 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;
— No welding or operation of an acetylene or other similar torch with open flame, except in an area that has been cleared of vegetation;
— No operation of any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed and in working order.
The Fourth of July holiday weekend will see Stage 1 fire restrictions expanded to include all lands managed by the White River National Forest, as well as federal lands in Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
According to a joint Forest Service/BLM press release, restrictions were already put in place during June for private lands within all of the fire protection districts in Garfield County, and within Glenwood Springs city limits.
On Thursday, Pitkin and Eagle counties joined in implementing the first-stage fire restrictions for private lands.
Nearby Mesa and Summit counties, including the Dillon Ranger District and BLM lands in Summit County, and BLM lands managed by the Grand Junction Field Office, were also already under Stage 1 fire restrictions.
Those restrictions include:
Campfires are only allowed within designated metal, in-ground fire grates in developed campgrounds (fire pans and rock campfire rings are not acceptable);
No fires of any type, including charcoal, outside of developed areas;
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;
No welding or operation of an acetylene or other similar torch with open flame, except in an area that has been cleared of vegetation;
No operation of any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed and in working order.
Fireworks use is never allowed on federal land, even those types of fireworks that are legal to purchase in Colorado.
Although conditions vary across the area, a longer-term drying trend is expected, public lands fire management officials said.
“Fire restrictions are prudent at this time given the long-range forecast, the continued high public visitation, and the extra precautions needed this year with the pandemic,” White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said in the release.
Added BLM Colorado River Valley Field Manager Larry Sandoval, “As conditions dry, we are seeing more human-caused fires across the area.”
Sandoval also issued a reminder to visitors using developed areas where campfires are permitted to ensure camp fires are completely out before leaving.
According to the release, officials consider a number of criteria when determining the need for fire restrictions, including current and anticipated fire danger, resource availability, and consistency with neighboring jurisdictions.
Local, county, state and federal officials within the Upper Colorado River fire management area evaluate and coordinate fire restrictions weekly during fire season.
Brush blaze along I-70 near Glenwood doused
Pointing up the current fire danger, a likely human-caused brush fire that burned about one acre between Interstate 70 and the railroad tracks in South Canyon was quickly extinguished Wednesday morning by Glenwood Springs Fire Department crews.
According to a department press release, the report was received at 7:32 a.m. for a brush fire on the south side of I-70 near mile marker 109.5, about four miles west of Glenwood Springs.
Firefighters responded to find a fast-moving grass fire burning on about one acre, and were able to contain it within 20 minutes.
“Great team effort with quick response was critical in extinguishing this fire in the high winds,” Incident Commander Jesse Hood said in the release.
The right lane of eastbound I-70 was closed in the area while crews attacked the fire. The Union Pacific Railroad also stopped train traffic due to the proximity of the railroad tracks to the fire, according to the release.
There were no injuries and no evacuations, as structures were not threatened, according to the release.
“This was likely a human-caused fire,” Hood said, adding the Garfield County Fire Investigation team is on the case.
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