Fire ban not likely |

Fire ban not likely

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi News
Grand County, CO Colorado

Recent fires in Grand County are not going to be the catalyst for a fire ban at this time, officials said on Tuesday.

“I don’t foresee a fire ban this late in the year,” said Grand County Sheriff Rod Johnson, who has been in communication with forest and fire officials. Conditions do not warrant one, he said.

A recommendation from the sheriff’s office and an adoption by county commissioners would put a fire ban in play, but certain “set points” for setting a ban have not all been met, according to the sheriff.

Paul Mintier, Forest Management Officer of the Arapaho-Roosevelt Sulphur Ranger District, agrees that fire restrictions are not warranted.

“To date today, there are not intentions to put on fire restrictions,” Mintier said.

Mintier said he understands the public’s concern, but as far as the Church Fire near Fraser that burned about 530 acres by Tuesday, “there is no way to link the cause to anything that would have been restricted” under a fire ban, he said.

Emergency officials use a “science-based matrix” of elements such as weather, dryness, time of year and availability of emergency resources to determine if restrictions are in order.

And even without a ban, there can be a fire “any time if someone careless is in the wrong spot at the right time,” Mintier said.

There has only been one fire ban in Grand County since 2003, and there has never been a fire ban during the hunting season due to the lateness of the season, according to Johnson.

Some citizens in beetle-kill country worry about an impending “big one” during the heightened dry season, such as business owner Avis Gray of the Grand Lake area.

“Just to be proactive and precautionary, I’m definitely in favor of a fire ban,” Gray said, adding that if there is no “official” need for one, “then I think there definitely needs to be intense public education with publicity about fire safety and enforcement.”

Fire restrictions in nearby Clear Creek and Larimer counties were likely due to drier and hotter conditions on the Front Range.

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