The Crestone Eagle • October, 2021

Forest Service declares Stage 1 Fire Ban for central Colorado —Saguache County included

—U.S. Forest Service

The forecast of continuing dry and warm conditions has prompted the Bureau of Land Management’s Royal Gorge Field Office and the Pike-San Isabel National Forests & Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands to implement Stage 1 Fire Restrictions across federally administered lands in five counties in central Colorado. These restrictions take effect at 12:01am, September 24, 2021, and will remain in effect through December 31, 2021 or until rescinded.

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are in effect for all BLM-managed lands in Chaffee and Lake Counties, and for all National Forest System lands, roads and trails, on the Leadville and Salida Ranger Districts located within Chaffee, Fremont, Lake, Park and Saguache counties in Colorado.

“Dry conditions exist across these areas, making them prone to wildfire,” said Forest and Grassland Supervisor Diana Trujillo. “Visitors are our first line of defense in preventing wildfires, so we ask you to respect the restrictions and please recreate responsibly.”

“Fire danger has been increasing due to continued warm temperatures, limited precipitation and dry vegetation,” said Royal Gorge Field Office Manager Keith Berger. “These fire restrictions are intended to reduce the chance of preventable fires.”

Land managers implement fire restrictions based on several factors, including fire activity levels, current and predicted weather, fuel moisture, and the availability of firefighting resources. Fire danger is extreme in the area and unless there is a change in the weather patterns soon, there remains a high potential for large fires.

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions prohibit the following:

• Igniting, building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire (including fires fueled by charcoal or briquettes) outside of a permanent metal or concrete fire pit or grate that the Forest Service has installed and maintained at its developed recreation sites (campgrounds and picnic areas).

• 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 an effective and properly installed USDA- or Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)- approved spark arrestor, a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher (with a minimum 8 oz. capacity and rating of 2A) kept with the operator, and a round point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches readily available for use.

These fire restrictions are in addition to the year-round wildfire prevention restrictions on federally administered public lands in Colorado. These prohibit:

• 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).