Pitkin County issues burn ban
ASPEN – Citing unseasonably warm weather and a lack of moisture, Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo issued a burn ban Wednesday, effective immediately.
Fire chiefs in Aspen, Snowmass, Basalt and Carbondale supported the restrictions.
“The fuel moisture content of trees, grass and brush is significantly low and at risk of a devastating fire,” according to a statement issued Wednesday.
The burn ban applies to all private and state lands in Pitkin County; federal lands are exempt.
The restrictions apply to the following people and activities:
• Building, maintaining, attending or using any fire to burn trash, debris, fence rows or vegetation; and any campfire, warming fire or charcoal grill except for those in permanent fire pits or fire grates or located in designated campgrounds, picnic areas or developed recreation sites.
• Smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, at a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area of at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.
• Operating a chain saw without an approved spark-arresting device and in effective working order, without a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher not less then 8 ounces capacity by weight, and without one size O or larger round-pointed shovel with an overall length of at least 36 inches. The extinguisher shall be kept with the chain-saw operator. The shovel may be kept with the fuel supplies but must be readily available for use.
• Welding or operation of an acetylene or other torch with open flame except within an area that is barren or cleared of all flammable material at least 10 feet on all sides from the equipment.
• Use of any fireworks or explosive requiring fuses or blasting caps.
The burn-ban restrictions exclude the following:
• People with valid permits from a federal agency, the Pitkin County sheriff or the fire district within which the fire is to occur specifically authorizing the prohibited act.
• Any federal, state or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
• Any fires contained within a liquid-fuel or gas-fuel stove, fireplaces within buildings, charcoal grill fires at private residences and fires within permanent fire pits or fire grates to the extent those pits or grates are located in developed picnic grounds, campgrounds or recreational sites.
• Burning of irrigation ditches located within and completely surrounded by irrigated farmlands, where such burning is necessary for crop survival and a written permit has been granted by the fire district having jurisdiction.
• Campfires or bonfires required in religious ceremonies, for which a federal agency or the sheriff has granted a written permit.
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