White River National Forest lifts fire ban
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Thanks to rains in the past two weeks across the high country, Stage 2 fire restrictions will be lifted for the White River National Forest starting Friday.
But the stringent Stage 2 restrictions remain in place for all private lands and for U.S. Bureau of Land Management lands in Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties.
Stage 2 restrictions prohibit campfires, charcoal grills, outdoor smoking, fireworks, explosives, welding, using equipment such as chain saws without a spark arrestor, and parking off roads except in parking lots or widely cleared areas.
“We are staying at Stage 2,” Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said Wednesday. “The higher country is getting more rain, but the grounds we concern ourselves with are lower in elevation, and we’ve seen no significant change in fuel moisture. So we will stay at Stage 2 a bit longer and see what develops.”
Vallario imposed the Stage 2 restrictions effective June 22, as did the U.S. Forest Service, BLM and National Park Service for federal lands in northwest Colorado.
Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said private lands in Pitkin County will remain under Stage 2 restrictions, which he said have been in effect since April 5.
Eagle County also remains under Stage 2, according to the county’s website.
Bill Hahnenberg, fire management officer for the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Unit, said, “We have taken a careful look at the weather and fuel-moisture data from weather stations across the area. This information indicates we should lift the fire restrictions for the White River National Forest.
“However, the lower-elevation areas remain very dry. The data supports keeping the areas managed by BLM at Stage 2 restrictions at this time.”
White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said, “I urge the public to remain vigilant and be very careful with fires. While we feel current conditions allow us to lift fire restrictions at this time, another period of dry weather could see an increase in fire danger.
“Should conditions warrant, we could again implement fire restrictions across the White River National Forest.”
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