Grand goes to Stage 1 fire ban
In response to a heightened fire risk, Grand County commissioners unanimously approved Tuesday a move into a Stage 1 fire ban that goes into effect at noon Wednesday.
Under Stage 1 restrictions, campfires are banned outside designated, permanent fire rings and portable stoves. Smoking outside near vegetation, welding, using a chainsaw without a spark arrester and using explosives, such as fireworks are also prohibited.
Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin and Grand Fire Assistant Chief Schelly Olson told commissioners Tuesday that conditions prompted them to request the fire ban.
The ban covers public lands in Grand, including the national forests and BLM land.
The ban comes as temperatures reached into the 80s on Monday and Tuesday, and recent drought maps show all of Grand County in a drought, ranging from abnormally dry to exceptional drought.
Hot air absorbs moisture from the soil, plants and bodies of water, leaving behind dry fuels ripe for burning. With conditions creating an increased fire risk, the county may move quickly into a Stage 2 ban based on Tuesday’s discussions.
Officials from the local fire districts, the Bureau of Land Management’s Kremmling Field Office, the Sulphur Ranger District of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and the Routt National Forest also collaborated on the decision.
The following activities and uses are also prohibited under Stage 1 Restrictions:
• Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed campground or picnic area or while stopped in an area of at least six feet in diameter that is barren of all combustible materials.
• Operating a chainsaw without an USDA or SAE approved spark-arresting device properly installed and in working order.
• Welding or operating torches with open flame, except in an area of at least ten feet in diameter that is barren of all combustible materials.
• Incendiary devices (excluding permissible fireworks).
The following activities and uses are allowed under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions:
• Open fires in developed campgrounds with fees and hosts or picnic areas with permanently constructed fire grates and/or charcoal grills.
• Fires contained within liquid or gas fueled stoves, lanterns or heating devices, and approved wood pellet grills and stoves.
• Open fires at private residences within permanent or portable outdoor fireplaces, fire pits, chimineas, and/or grills.
• Permissible fireworks according to state statute. The permitted, professional fireworks displays in Grand County are allowed.
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Surrounded by walls of flames, Grand County Sheriff’s Office deputies fanned out across the US Highway 34 and Colorado Highway 125 corridors to evacuate about 4,000 people from East Troublesome Fire on Oct. 21, 2020.