Pitkin County moving to Stage 2 fire restrictions starting Wednesday
With the continued hot, dry weather, Pitkin County is moving to Stage 2 fire restrictions starting Wednesday, Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said Tuesday in a news release.
“A Stage 2 fire restriction essentially prohibits all fires, whether you’re in an established campsite or on the back deck at your house,” DiSalvo said in the release. “My deputies will enforce this fire restriction and will issue citations to those who violate it. We once again find ourselves in an extreme fire season. With the numerous wildfires in surrounding counties and having seen the long range weather forecast we know we must do everything we can to deter and prevent human caused fires in our community.”
The new fire restrictions start at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday and are in effect until further notice. The Stage 2 restrictions cover all state, public, private, incorporated and unincorporated lands within Pitkin County, and according to the release “officials from the US Forest Service – White River National Forest and Bureau of Land Management are planning to implement their own restrictions later in the week.”
Those who violate these fire restrictions can face criminal penalties, which include fines of $500 (first offense), $750 (second offense), and $1,000 (third offense) and possible jail time.
The Roaring Fork Valley area has been under Stage 1 restrictions since last week.
For more information on the restrictions, go to http://www.pitkinemergency.com.
The fire restrictions apply to the following activities, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office:
— Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire. This includes charcoal grills and barbecues, coal and wood-burning stoves and sheepherder’s stoves and includes use in developed camping and picnic grounds. (Gas grills/stoves/lanterns using pressurized liquid or gas that include shut-off valves are permitted when used in an area at least three feet or more from flammable material such as grasses or pine needles.)
— Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, building, or area cleared of all combustible materials.
— Use of any fireworks including sparklers, rockets, exploding targets, and tracers or incendiaries.
— Using an explosive. This includes but is not limited to fuses or blasting caps.
— Welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame without a current permit or letter of authorization.
— Operating or using any internal combustion engine (e.g. chainsaw, generator, ATV) without an approved spark arresting device properly installed and in effective working order meeting either: Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Standard 5100-1a; or Appropriate Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE recommended practice J335(b) and J350(a).
— Operating a chainsaw without an approved spark arresting device properly installed and in effective working order, and chemical pressurized fire extinguisher (8 oz. capacity by weight or larger and kept with the operator) and a round point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches that is readily available for use.
This is a developing story that will be updated.
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