In response to what fire officials with the Front Range Fire and Aviation Management Unit are describing as “unseasonably warm and dry” as well as “very high” fire danger ratings, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has acted. As of Friday, Oct. 4, the BLM Royal Gorge and San Luis Valley field offices have declared Stage 2 Fire Restriction levels.
“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.”
Stage 2 fire restrictions are in effect for all BLM-administered lands in Lake, Chaffee, Custer and Fremont counties, all administered through the Royal Gorge Field Office.
In the San Luis Valley Field Office, Stage 2 fire restrictions are in effect for the Bureau of Land Management land in Saguache and Alamosa counties east of U.S. Highway 285 south to the junction with State Route 17 and east of State Route 17 south to U.S. Highway 160.
Stage 2 fire restrictions are also in effect for BLM lands in Saguache County west of U.S. 285 between Mears Junction and Alder.
Due to the Decker Fire, several access roads near or into BLM-managed land are also restricted in Chaffee, Fremont and Saguache counties.
For BLM closures: www.tinyurl.com/BLMCLosure
Under Stage 2 Fire Restrictions the following acts are prohibited:
- Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal barbecue, or grills are not permitted 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 eight 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 torches with open flame.
- Using exploding targets.
Stage 1 fire restrictions are in effect for all BLM-administered lands in Teller, Park and El Paso counties. These lands are managed out of the Royal Gorge Field Office.
Both Stage 1 and Stage 2 fire restrictions are in addition to the year-round wildfire prevention restrictions already in place on BLM-administered public lands in Colorado. Those restrictions are never to leave a fire unattended or un-extinguished, no fireworks, no discharging of a firearm using incendiary or tracer ammunition. Stage 1 restrictions include burning any tire, wire, magnesium, or any other hazardous or explosive material, or operating any off-road vehicle on public lands unless the vehicle is equipped with a properly installed spark arrester under 43 CFR 8343.1 (c).
All fire restrictions are 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 www.coemergency.com/p/fire-bans-danger.