Current conditions don’t warrant fire ban, according to sheriff |

Current conditions don’t warrant fire ban, according to sheriff

Grand County's open burning season ended April 22, 2019.
Design by Bryce Martin/Sky-Hi News

Despite several large fires raging across the state, including the Buffalo Mountain wildfire ongoing in neighboring Summit County, local officials do not believe Grand County has the conditions to warrant a fire ban.

“If you go by the numbers, we are still in a low risk,” said Lt. Dan Mayer of the Grand County Sheriff’s Office. “But it is being reviewed almost daily.”

Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin, who acts as the official wildland fire manager for the county per state statute, is the person in charge of officially making a recommendation to county commissioners 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.

While no widespread fire restriction has been issued for Grand County, stage 1 fire restrictions will begin Friday for the entire White River National Forest and Bureau of Land Management-administered lands in Summit, Eagle, and Pitkin Counties, and portions of Grand County adjacent to the Colorado River and Trough Road southwest of Kremmling and the Dice Hill area south of Kremmling.

Stage 1 fire restrictions are already in effect in all lands in Mesa and Garfield counties and on unincorporated and private lands in Summit, Eagle and Pitkin counties.

The massive wildfire near Durango in southwestern Colorado recently prompted the closure of the San Juan National Forest to prevent the possibility of an abandoned campfire or another spark starting another catastrophic wildfire in exceptional drought conditions.

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