Due to continued dry and windy conditions Superintendent Art Hutchinson announced today that all areas within Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve are under Stage 1 Fire restrictions effective June 3, 2011 and remain in effect until further notice. “Disappointing winter snowfall accumulations coupled with inadequate spring moisture totals and continuing windy conditions have resulted in dry vegetation that has not really greened up,” said Superintendent Hutchinson. “The resulting dry fuels, combined with higher temperatures, have created a high fire danger situation.” To prevent human caused wildfires, the following restrictions are now in place:

• The entire area within Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is closed to the lighting and maintaining of any fire EXCEPT within the established fire grates within the Pinyon Flats Campground or charcoal fires within the grills at the Mosca Creek Picnic Area.

• The use of petroleum fueled stoves, lanterns, or heating devices is permitted. This restriction does not include the use of gas stoves, lanterns, or heating devices or wood burning stoves within park residences.

• Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire at backcountry campsites, including within fire grates in primitive campsites along the Medano Pass Primitive Road, is prohibited. The use of petroleum fueled stoves, lanterns, or heating devices is permitted.

• The entire area within Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is closed to smoking except in enclosed vehicles, the Pinyon Flats Campground, the picnic area, or paved or graveled parking lots.

Visitors are reminded of potential carelessness and are cautioned to properly extinguish all lighted smoking materials.

For further information on fire conditions in the park, please contact (719) 378-6399.