CAÑON CITY – Due to unseasonably warm temperatures, dry conditions, and continued “very high” fire danger ratings, fire restrictions will go into effect on BLM-administered lands in the Royal Gorge and San Luis Valley field offices effective Friday, Oct. 4.
“These fire restrictions are being put in place due to an unseasonably dry and windy fall,” said Rocky Mountain District Manager Catherine Cook. “Despite the late date, fire danger has been steadily increasing and the forecast does not show signs of relief anytime soon.”
In the San Luis Valley Field Office, Stage 2 fire restrictions are effective for Bureau of Land Management lands in Saguache and Alamosa counties east of US Highway 285 south to the junction with State Route 17 and east of State Route 17 south to US Highway 160. Additionally, Stage 2 fire restrictions are also in effect for BLM lands in Saguache County west of US 285 between Mears Junction and Alder.
Under Stage 2 Fire Restrictions the following acts are prohibited:
Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal barbecue, or grills are prohibited on federal lands. The use of portable stoves, lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel are allowed.
Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
Operating a chainsaw without a USDA or SAE approved spark arrester properly installed and working, a chemical fire extinguisher of not less than 8 ounces capacity by weight, and one round point shovel with an overall length of at least 36 inches.
Using a welder, either arc or gas, or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame.
Using exploding targets.
Stage 2 fire restrictions are in addition to the year-round wildfire prevention restrictions on BLM-administered public lands in Colorado. These are:
Leaving a fire unattended or unextinguished.
Possession, discharge or use of any fireworks.
Discharge of a firearm using incendiary or tracer ammunition.
Burn, ignite or cause to burn any tire, wire, magnesium, or any other hazardous or explosive material.
Operate any off-road vehicle on public lands unless the vehicle is equipped with a properly installed spark arrester pursuant to 43 CFR 8343.1 (c).
Fire restrictions will be in place until further notice. Those found responsible for starting wildfires may also face restitution costs of suppressing the fire.
Other areas in Colorado are also under fire restrictions. For more information about fire restrictions, please visit http://www.coemergency.com/p/fire-bans-danger.html.
Fire officials with the Front Range Fire and Aviation Management Unit are urging the public to continue to be cautious as conditions are expected to stay unseasonably warm and dry in south-central Colorado.