Sheriff recommends Grand County not implement fire restrictions
July 19, 2017
Despite wildfires popping up locally and around the region, Grand County still has no plan to implement fire restrictions, a move supported by federal officials.
Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin on Tuesday recommended to the Grand County Board of Commissioners that no change be made to current fire regulations within the county.
Schroetlin, who acts as the official wildland fire manager for the county per state statutes, made his recommendation based on the various fire protection districts within the county, along with using the Standardized Federal Fire Matrix. The matrix, used to assess the current state of fire danger in the county, utilizes a seven-point system when considering the need to implement restrictions.
Each of the seven points, or factors, within the matrix considers factors relating to fuel types, moisture content, the impact of any existing wildland fires on resources, drought indicators and more. As a standard practice, fire restrictions are not implemented until at least four of the seven factors have been met.
Grand County is currently meeting only two of the seven factors meaning the county falls very low on the matrix and has not reached rating near restriction levels, according to officials.
County Commissioner Merrit Linke agreed with Schroetlin's assessment.
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Schroetlin and officials from the local fire protection districts participated in a regional conference call with federal partners Tuesday morning and relayed to the commissioners that federal officials supported the decision not to implement restrictions.
Though not all parts of the county are free from restrictions as one region, a small segment of Routt National Forest located northwest of Kremmling, currently maintains a fire ban. But Schroetlin clarified this week that no bans exist in Grand County's portion of the Arapaho National Forest.
"There is some confusion because the Arapaho National Forest on the other side of the divide is under restrictions, but in Grand County it is not," Schroetlin explained.
He recommended the issue of potential fire restrictions remain on the county's agenda for the next few weeks so that conditions could be formally reassessed on an ongoing basis. But if local fire danger continues trending downwards, Schroetlin said that the issue could be removed in coming weeks.