County repeals fire ban
SUMMIT COUNTY – County commissioners held an emergency meeting Tuesday to repeal the fire ban that has been in place since April 24 – believed to be the longest a fire ban has been in place in Summit County.
The decision came a day after the U.S. Forest Service repealed its fire ban in the White River National Forest. Forest Service officials credited cooler weather and increased moisture from recent storms for reducing the fire danger in the area.
County commissioners amended the countywide ban Sept. 23 to allow charcoal-fueled barbecues, charcoal fires in pits on private land, camping stoves, lanterns and heating devices.
Recently, hunters have been asking county commissioners to repeal the ban, said County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom.
“We did it mostly to come into agreement with the Forest Service,” he said. “But we had been getting some pressure from hunters who are ready to go into hunting season and were concerned they wouldn’t be able to have their campfires.”
The BOCC implemented a countywide fire ban this spring after an early snowmelt and high winds contributed to dry conditions throughout the region.
Summit County was left relatively unscathed this fire season, although hundreds of thousands of acres were lost to fires in neighboring counties. The county’s largest fire burned approximately three acres on a hillside below the Dillon Dam in August. Other small fires were extinguished by air tankers in the Eagle’s Nest Wilderness.
In the resolution approved Tuesday, commissioners said the danger of wildfires in Summit County has “greatly diminished, is currently low and no longer poses a dangerous threat of widespread or severe damage, harm or injury to life or property” and that the ban is no longer necessary.
Some fires, including the Big Fish fire in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area, the Coal Seam fire outside Glenwood Springs, the Spring Creek fire near New Castle and the Thompson Creek fire near Carbondale are not considered to be out yet, and other fires could rekindle if conditions become dry again.
Officials repealed the Forest Service fire ban Tuesday and warned backcountry users about the potential danger of erosion and unstable trees in burned areas.
“We’re particularly concerned about hunters in the forest – particularly out-of state hunters who may not be aware of the locations of fires in the forest,” said acting Forest Supervisor Steve Deitemeyer.
Maps with fire locations are available at Forest Service offices in Silverthorne, Aspen, Carbondale, Eagle, Glenwood Springs, Meeker, Minturn and Rifle.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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