The White River National Forest and Garfield County now have restrictions in place that do not allow open fires, it was announced Thursday.
The Forest Service and Garfield County Sheriff’s Office are working hand-in-hand in an effort to prevent human-caused wildfires during this dangerously dry fire season. This decision was made in consultation with local fire departments and fire protection districts. It is based upon the current extreme burn index and long-range weather forecasts predicting continuing dry conditions with the potential for high winds resulting in red-flag warnings.
“I realize these restrictions will cause some inconveniences to forest users,” Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said in a statement. “But the conditions we are experiencing are severe. The potential for large expensive wildfires is real. We need to take these steps to minimize the potential for human-caused fire.”
On White River National Forest and unincorporated Garfield County lands, the following activities are not allowed:
• Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, coal or wood-burning stove, any type of charcoal-fueled broiler or open fire of any type.
• Smoking cigarettes, except within an enclosed vehicle, building or developed recreation site.
• Operating a chainsaw, except those with approved spark arrestors. Operator must have a shovel and fire extinguisher.
• Welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame.
• Operating or using any internal combustion engine without a spark-arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order.
• Fireworks are not allowed at any time on any public lands administered by The U.S. Forest Service, The Bureau of Land Management or the National Park Service.
Fires are allowed in constructed, permanent fire pits or fire grates within developed Forest Service camp and picnic grounds or recreation sites. Petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns or heating devices that meet the fire underwriter’s specifications for safety also are allowed. Fires that are maintained or attended within a device that has a spark arrestor or where the fire is fully enclosed within a screen at all times are allowed.
For the latest information on fire restrictions, call a Forest Service office near you, or the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.