Nat’l forest increases fire restrictions

USDA Forest Service officials are providing recreation opportunities where possible, while keeping employees, the public, and our communities safe from the virus. We are also working to protect communities, as well as both natural and cultural resources, safe from unwanted human-caused wildfires.

Until further notice, the following fire-related activities are prohibited on National Forest system lands within the Rocky Mountain Region (Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming):

• Igniting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, including charcoal grills and barbecues, coal and wood burning stoves, and sheepherder’s stoves.

• Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, trailer, or building.

Exceptions to the prohibited fire-related activities include:

• Persons with a Forest Permit, Form FS-7700-48, specifically exempting them from the effect of this Order in the areas listed above.

• Any Federal, State or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty is exempt from Prohibitions.

• Persons using pressurized liquid or gas devices (stoves, grills or lanterns) with shut-off valves in an area at least three feet from any flammable materials are exempt from Prohibition #1.

• Residents, owners or lessees within the areas listed above who are using a fire in a permanent dwelling with an effective and properly installed USDA- or SAE-approved spark arrestor, are exempt from Prohibition #1.

• During this fire restriction period, igniting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or smoking on national forests and grasslands is a violation of the law and may result in an appearance in federal court, fines, and possible time in jail.

Fire restrictions enhance public safety, protect natural and cultural resources, and help prevent human-caused wildfires.

Several criteria are used to determine when to implement fire restrictions, including fire activity levels, current and predicted weather, fuel moisture, and the availability of emergency and firefighting resources.

Additional restrictions may be required if conditions warrant.

Given the demonstrated risk of exposure to the virus from large, concentrated gatherings of people, USDA Forest Service officials are asking the recreating public to comply with all state and local health orders as well as USDA Forest Service Orders.

Law enforcement and/or search and rescue operations may be limited due to response to the current health crisis. High-risk or backcountry activities that may increase your chance of injury or distress should be avoided.

Federal wildland fire agencies are working closely with state and local partners in supporting the U.S. response to the current health crisis. These restrictions are in place to prevent the overtaxing of fire and medical resources of our local county and state partners.