In the Backcountry: Fire ban lifted | AspenTimes.com

In the Backcountry: Fire ban lifted

Aspen Times Staff

With a midsummer monsoon season well under way in the high country, the White River National Forest rescinded fire restrictions at 12:01 a.m. today.With the move, backcountry campers may again light campfires in the national forest that surrounds Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley, assuming they can find any wood dry enough to burn. Forest officials initiated the restrictions on June 21 in response to dry conditions, though campfires in fire grates within developed campgrounds have been permitted all along.”We’ve been receiving rain for the last three weeks in the high country,” noted Chris Farinetti, operations specialist for the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit, in a U.S. Forest Service press release announcing the move.Fire restrictions will, however, remain in effect at lower elevations, including lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management in the Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction areas, Farinetti said.The restrictions also remain in effect on nonpublic lands in Pitkin, Eagle, Garfield and Mesa counties, though Pitkin County’s ban is expected to go under review by its safety committee today.The White River National Forest joins several other national forests and counties in Colorado in lifting restrictions, including the Arapaho/Roosevelt, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, Gunnison and Pike/San Isabel forests, and Routt County in the Steamboat Springs area.Lifting the restrictions on open burning and agricultural burning does not mean they won’t be reinstituted later this summer, Farinetti cautioned. “Down the road, if we have more hot and dry conditions, we may have to go back into restrictions,” he said. The use of fireworks on public land is prohibited year-round, the Forest Service noted.