Several locals have reported coming across folks in the woods with open fire, utterly oblivious to the fact that there's a Stage 2 fire ban in effect in Summit County and across the state. It may be hard to believe people haven't noticed the highway signs and the notices in other places about this, but as we know, folks on vacation are often more focused on leisure than responsibility.
While all the public fireworks displays have been canceled in Summit County for the Fourth, we do worry about people doing their own thing out there and starting a fire. The local police and Forest Service officials have said they'll be on the lookout for folks shooting off their own fireworks, and the district attorney has said his office will offer no plea bargains for those caught. But considering the fact that some may be unaware of the ban and that the fine is a relatively paltry $150 for a first offense (although stricter in Breckenridge), we're not sure how much good this will do.
What we really need is a concerted effort by all residents of Summit County to inform our visitors of the restrictions and when we see them breaking them, to tell them - politely but in no uncertain terms - to be followed by a 911 call if they refuse to comply. This isn't about being polite, it's about saving our county from the fate being endured by places like Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, Boulder and ... the list goes on.
Recent afternoon showers have been encouraging, but make no mistake: The fire danger is still at "very high," and it's a long summer ahead. We can hope for more rain and no errant lightning, but the only thing really under our control is minimizing human mistakes. That's one effort we all can and should have a hand in.