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Much of the United States is now experiencing the effects of wildfires. Though Chaffee County currently has no fire restrictions, it could take only a week or two of high temperatures before the lush vegetation from the monsoon rains turns to fuel for wildfires.

It is always good to brush up on fire safety and stay up to date on fire bans when traveling. After all, about 85 percent of wildfires are caused by humans. The Chaffee County Visitors Bureau has compiled a list of dos and don’ts for those who plan to head out on a camping trip or simply need to burn off brush piles. The list states:

  • Keep campfires small and manageable.

    Photo by Tegan Mierle. Courtesy of unsplash.

  • Never let a fire burn unattended.
  • Properly maintain and watch campfires.
  • Do not build a fire at a site in hazardous, windy or dry conditions. Check to see if campfires are permitted.
  • Do not build a fire if the campground, area or event rules prohibit campfires. Check with the campground or forest representative.
  • Use an existing fire ring or fire pit. If there is not an existing fire pit, and pits are allowed, look for a site that is at least fifteen feet away from tent walls, shrubs, trees or other flammable objects. Also, beware of low-hanging branches overhead.
  • Supervise children and pets when they are near fire.
  • Never cut live trees or branches for fires.
  • Fire restrictions and bans are set by local jurisdictions and by individual forest agencies. Check with the local sheriff’s office, fire department or the federal forest agency before lighting a campfire this summer.
  • If you think it isn’t safe enough to light a campfire, choose to be safe and not start one.
  • Properly extinguish and dispose of cigarettes.
  • When putting out a fire, water it until you can handle the embers.