Garco initiates fire ban |

Garco initiates fire ban

Heidi Rice
Glenwood Springs correspondent

As of 8 a.m. today, an open fire ban is in effect in Garfield County ” the result of hot and dry weather that is expected to continue through the month of July.

That means no open burning of anything that produces an open flame, including campfires, warming fires, charcoal grill fires and agricultural or prescribed burning of ditches, fencerows, field, brush, trash and debris.

“There is an increased danger of wildfire in Garfield County,” said Brit McLin, fire chief for the Burning Mountains Fire Protection District, which covers a large area in New Castle and Silt. “But this fire ban pertains to private and state lands ” not federal.”

According to McLin, the fire conditions now are worse than they were when the Coal Seam Fire broke out in 2002, burning more than 12,000 acres, starting in West Glenwood Springs and ending on the Flat Tops.

But the fire ban doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t flip some burgers on the gas or charcoal grill in your back yard.

Activities that are still allowed include fire contained within liquid fuel or gas fuel stoves, fireplaces within buildings, charcoal grill fires at private residences and fires built within permanent fire pits or fire grates located on developed picnic sites or campgrounds.

Federal lands, such as the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service, will implement their own fire restrictions, McLin said.

But no matter what, residents are urged to be careful when dealing with flammable materials outdoors ” especially the cheat grass that grows throughout the region in fields, pastures and alongside the roadways.

“Cheat grass spreads so fast you can’t outrun it,” McLin said. “It burns like sparklers.”

For more information about the fire ban or with questions, call your local fire protection district or the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.

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