Forest Service issues wildfire warnings, restrictions for Labor Day |

Forest Service issues wildfire warnings, restrictions for Labor Day

Sky-Hi News staff report
Showing the burn scar from the Silver Creek Fire on Sept. 24. Burning operations are slated to begin soon in Grand County to help prevent forest fires.

Ahead of the holiday weekend, the U.S. Forest Service has increased fire restrictions in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and is issuing warnings about the increasingly dry and windy conditions.

Stage 1 fire and shooting restrictions are in effect in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests for Boulder, Clear Creek, Gilpin and Park counties. The restrictions include no campfires except in permanent fire pits, no smoking except in an enclosed vehicle or building and its prohibited to set off fireworks or shoot a gun with the exception of hunting with a valid license. 

Officials for the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest also issued warnings this week about the dry and windy conditions, but did not place restrictions on the area.

“Even as the days become shorter and temperatures trend downward, there will still be multiple periods where warm, dry, or windy conditions could align with receptive fuels, creating potential for explosive wildfire development and growth,” said a Forest Service statement.

Campers should be sure that any fires are completely out before leaving it unattended and should watch for other potential fire starters, such as discarded cigarettes or hot mufflers on vehicles parked in tall, dry grass.

According to the Forest Service, violations of the fire restrictions can bear a penalty of $5,000 and six months or more in jail for an individual. If an individual is found to have caused a wildfire, they could be responsible for the costs of suppressing it.

Stage 1 fire restrictions

·         Build or maintain a fire or use charcoal, coal, or wood stoves, except in permanent fire pits or fire grates within a developed recreation site (e.g., campgrounds where fees are charged).

·         Smoke, except in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while in an area at least three feet in diameter cleared of all flammable materials.

·         Use any internal or external combustion engine (including chainsaws) without a spark arresting device properly working and a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher and a round point shovel.

·         Weld or operate acetylene or other torch with open flame except in cleared areas of at least 10 feet in diameter and in possession of a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher.

·         Use explosives, including fireworks.

·         Discharge of a firearm unless in possession of a valid Colorado hunting license and lawfully involved in hunting and harvesting game.

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