Summit County to move out of Stage 1 fire restrictions Friday

Undersheriff Peter Haynes says the rainfall received last week is what moved the needle in removing restrictions

Summit County will be moving out of Stage 1 fire restrictions beginning Friday, July 30.

The move was made effective at the Summit Board of County Commissioners regular meeting Tuesday, July 27, after an update given by Summit County Undersheriff Peter Haynes during the commissioners’ work session meeting earlier that day.

During his update, Haynes reported that surrounding counties and the U.S. Forest Service were all coming out of Stage 1 fire restrictions Friday and that Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons recommended Summit County do the same.

Summit County Commissioner Tamara Pogue asked whether all of the county’s towns were on board with the decision, to which Summit County Manager Scott Vargo reported the managers from Blue River, Silverthorne, Breckenridge, Frisco and Dillon were all in agreement.

Moving forward, Haynes said the upcoming forecast is “trending favorable for us” and that rain predicted for the coming afternoons will help with wildfire risk.

“Our weather pattern has been much better in the past week, and our weather outlook continues to look good as well for us with lower temperatures, rain in the future,” Haynes said during the meeting. “… The sheriff’s recommendation is to remove the fire restrictions as our local Forest Service has and surrounding counties have also.”

Haynes noted that the outlook could change quickly if weather patterns change course.

“Obviously, that can change quickly on us if the weather shifts, but we’re still in a better place,” he said.

So far this month, a weather station in Dillon has had 2.63 inches of rainfall. Normally, July receives 1.87 inches of rainfall, according to the National Weather Service. Despite several days left in the month, July has already received the most rainfall for the month in the past eight years.

The rainiest day of the month was Friday, July 23, with 0.8 inches recorded Saturday morning for the previous 24 hours.

The county originally implemented Stage 1 fire restrictions June 17 and has bounced between Stage 1 and 2 restrictions until now.

Deciding whether the county moves to and from various stages of restrictions is determined by a set of criteria, with three of four items being met in order to move to a more restrictive stage:

  • Energy-release component of 90% to 96% in past five days
  • High human-caused risk
  • Live fuel moistures at or approaching historic thresholds
  • No significant relief in fire weather in seven-day forecast

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