Grand County OKs fire restrictions
Grand County has a fire ban.
County officials, including the Grand County Board of County Commissioners (GCBOCC) and the Grand County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO), instituted fire restrictions for Grand County late last week with the restrictions formally starting at 1 p.m. Friday July 15.
An ordinance approved by the GCBOCC, which can be viewed at co.grand.co.us/DocumentCenter/View/7818, details the specific restrictions applicable to Grand County.
Opening burning, open fires and “incendiary devices” are severely restricted in Grand County under the restrictions while the sale and use of fireworks is banned entirely. Recreational fires are allowed on private property under specific stipulations.
Smokers will need to remain cautious while the fire restrictions are in effect. Under the restrictions approved last week acceptable smoking areas are highly restricted. Smoking is allowed within enclosed vehicles or buildings, at developed recreation sites and in any area, “at least six feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all combustible material.” Smoking is prohibited in all other areas of Grand County under the restrictions.
Open burning, including bon fires, is currently restricted in Grand County; likewise agricultural fires, such as ditch or fence row burning, are also prohibited. Unused burn permits issued prior to the institution of fire restrictions will not be allowed unless expressly authorized by the issuing agency on the day of execution.
Incendiary devices are also restricted by the ordinance. The ordinance defines incendiary devices as, “any object which is combustible, flammable, explodes or is designed to or may cause fire”. Sky lanterns, exploding ammunition, exploding targets and tracer ammunition are included in a brief list of “incendiary devices” in the ordinance and are prohibited in Grand County.
Folks in Grand County can still enjoy an outdoor barbecue this summer. The restriction allows for the use of recreational charcoal grills at private residences. Folks can also cook out with charcoal within permanently constructed grates at private residences or in developed parks, campgrounds or picnic areas. Additionally recreational fires are allowed at private residences or within permanently constructed grates in parks, campgrounds or picnic areas.
If you plan to have a recreational fire at your private residence take a moment to call your local fire agency and let them know. County officials are asking folks to notify their local fire agency about planned recreational fires at private homes to alleviate smoke check responses and prevent accidental emergency calls on safely contained fires.
Liquid or gas fueled appliances, wood pellet grills and stoves, portable outdoor fire places, tiki torches, chimineas and fire pits are allowed under the ordinance passed last week as long as they are operated at least 30 feet away from any structure or undeveloped area. Similarly welding and cutting torch appliances are allowed when operated 30 feet from structures and undeveloped areas.
The ordinance includes several other provisions allowing burning activities in unique circumstances, including a provision allowing for fires used to inflate commercial hot air balloons.
The ordinance states, “individuals operating under… exemptions shall take adequate measures to prevent uncontrolled fires.” The ordinance provides a short-list of a few measure folks can take to prevent fire outbreaks including: keeping containers of adequate water or dry soil nearby and keeping shovels and fire extinguishers nearby.
Under the fire restriction ordinance an open fire is defined as, “any outdoor fire larger than a recreational fire and not contained within a portable outdoor fireplace.”
The ordinance defines the term “recreational fire” as, “an outdoor fire burning material other than rubbish or debris where the fuel being burned is not contained in a portable outdoor fireplace or barbecue grill and has a total fuel area of 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less in height… This includes fires in barrels and drums; fixed, permanent outdoor fireplaces; and barbeque pit fires.”
The ordinance also outlines the fines that will be assessed for violation of the fire restrictions. First time offenses are assessed at $100 with a second offense costing $250. The ordinance goes on to state, “anyone starting, maintaining, or permitting open burning in violation of this Ordinance shall be responsible for any and all costs associated with extinguishing the fire and for any and all damages caused as a result of the fire.”
Throughout Grand County most municipalities adhere to the same restrictions approved by Grand County government. Kremmling, Hot Sulphur Springs, Granby and Fraser all follow the same restrictions passed by Grand County.
Grand Lake Town Manager Jim White said he has forwarded the county approved regulations to the Grand Lake Board of Trustees and the issue will be brought up for discussion during the next Board meeting.
The Sky-Hi News reached out to officials from the Town of Winter Park to review what, if any, fire restrictions are in place for that community. Officials from Winter Park had not returned phone calls as of press time.
The US Forest Service administers a significant portion of land in Grand County. The federal agency has also passed fire restrictions for land they administer in this region in conjunction with county government. Stage 1 Fire Restrictions approved by the Forest Service closely mirror restrictions approved by Grand County officials and restricts fires to designated fire grates in developed campgrounds.
The restrictions approved by the Forest Service also prohibit charcoal fires outside of developed areas. Smoking restrictions approved by the Forest Service are the same as those approved for Grand County. Explosive materials, including fireworks, are strictly prohibited. Chainsaws without properly installed spark arresting devices are prohibited. Anyone using a chainsaw must carry a pressurized fire extinguisher and a round point shovel.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) also approved Stage 1 Fire Restrictions for land they administer in Grand County.
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