Forest Service urges fire caution
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The U.S. Forest Service has decided not to enact a fire ban on the White River National Forest before the July Fourth weekend, but officials are urging forest visitors to use caution in rapidly drying conditions.
“The hot temperatures of June have dried out the area’s vegetation, especially below 8,000 feet, increasing the potential for wildfires,” said a statement released Wednesday by the White River Forest supervisor’s office in Glenwood Springs. The fire danger rating is “high” at higher elevations.
The White River National Forest surrounds Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. As any recent visitor to the forest knows, a hiker can encounter a snowbank just feet away from vegetation that is dried out and crunchy. Odd conditions exist this year.
The Bureau of Land Management has already placed fire restrictions on its areas, which tend to be lower in elevation than the national forest. The BLM Glenwood Field Office has banned all fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices, including sparklers. Fireworks possession and use is also banned on national forest lands.
The Glenwood Springs Field Office of the BLM covers Garfield and Eagle counties, along with a small part of Pitkin County and southern Routt County. The BLM fire restrictions include a prohibition on campfires except in designated fire grates (fire pans are not acceptable).
The Forest Service is reminding campers to extinguish fires before leaving campsites. People found negligent for escape fires can be held liable for the cost of suppression and reclamation of damaged resources.
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Friends of Colorado Avalanche Information Center has contributed to the state’s avalanche center for several years to help with forecasting for backcountry visitors. It cannot hold in-person fundraisers this year so its asking supporters to sign up for an annual membership.