Pitkin County Emergency Manager Valerie MacDonald issued a reminder on Thursday afternoon that Stage 1 fire restrictions are in place throughout the county.
“Fire danger in the entire valley is increasing,” MacDonald said. “The Lake Christine Fire was just two years ago and we cannot afford a repeat during COVID-19, which complicates everything. We need everyone to do their part to keep us safe. If you haven’t already, sit down with your friends and family and work on your emergency plan and be ready to evacuate quickly if needed.”
Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo, with the support of area fire districts, implemented the Stage 1 fire restrictions at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
The new fire restrictions are in effect until further notice and cover all state, public, private, incorporated and unincorporated lands within Pitkin County. Land management officials from the U.S. Forest Service’s White River National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management are implementing similar restrictions.
“The current energy release component (ERC) data for our region supports this move into Stage 1 fire restrictions. Additionally, long-range forecast data from our partners at the National Weather Service indicates a prolonged period of above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation for our region,” DiSalvo said in a prepared statement.
“Placing Pitkin County into Stage 1 fire restrictions ahead of the busy Fourth of July holiday weekend and beyond is the most responsible course of action,” DiSalvo added.
Residents and visitors who violate fire restrictions face penalties that include fines between $500 and $1,000, as well as possible jail time.
Restrictions include bans on: building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire except within a developed recreation site or improved site that includes a fire ring or pit; smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building or a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area of at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material; operating or using an internal or external combustion engine without an approved spark-arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order; use of any personal fireworks or explosive requiring fuses or blasting caps, including exploding targets, as defined by state law.