County adopts two new fire ordinances |

County adopts two new fire ordinances

Local firefighters pack their gear away as they prepare for debriefing following action Tuesday on a small wildland fire at the Byers Canyon Shooting Range. The two burn scars from the fire can be seen in the background.
Lance Maggart / Sky-Hi News

New fire restriction and open burning permit ordinances will soon be in effect for the county after the Grand County Board of Commissioners approved the two new ordinances in mid-May.

County commissioners on May 15 considered adoption of two new fire ordinances, one covering open burning permitting and another related to fire restrictions in the county. The new ordinances will formally go into effect on June 23.

Grand County Ordinance 19, pertaining to the county’s open burn permit regulatory regime, layers out the application process required to obtain an open burn permit and defines types of fires that do not require initiators to obtain a burn permit. The burning of ground cover vegetation on agriculture land to prepare soil for agricultural operations does not require a permit. Likewise, attended outdoor cooking and recreational fires no larger than three feet in diameter, less than two feet and contained within stoves, fireplaces, fire pits and other similar structures are also not required to be permitted through the county.

The county allows open burning in the winter months, beginning when at least three to six inches of permanent snow covers the ground, and typically lasts until the beginning of April.

Structures, household garbage, food waste, commercial business waste, construction debris and animal parts or carcasses are prohibited from being burned through a county open burning permit.

The county has set a fine structure for those that violate the open burning ordinance, with a $100 fine for an initial violation and $250 for the second. Any subsequent violation will receive a $500 fine.

Stiff fines for violating ordinance

Grand County Ordinance 20, pertaining to fire restrictions, codifies the county’s ability to restrict or ban open burning, use of incendiary devices and fireworks. Such a resolution restricting open burning, incendiary devices and fireworks would be passed if competent evidence of high danger of forest or grass fire then exists and that the restriction or ban should be instated, according to the ordinance.

If such a resolution were passed, the county could restrict all campfires, agricultural fires, such as those allowed without permitting under Ordinance 19, liquid gas fueled appliances, welding and smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building or while stopped in an area of barren soil at least three feet in diameter.

In the event of the passage of a fire restriction resolution, the ordinance notes some activities may be excluded from the ban including the use of liquid or gas fueled appliances, welding and cutting torches, wood pellet grills and stoves, and specifically authorized persons engaging in acts such as professional fireworks displays.

Violations of a fire restriction resolution could see a fine as high as $1,000 for each separate violation, and anyone “starting, maintaining, or permitting burning, open burning and/or open fires in violation” would be responsible for all costs associated with extinguishing the fire and for its damages, per the ordinance.

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