Drought conditions may force early cutoff for burn permits | SummitDaily.com

Drought conditions may force early cutoff for burn permits

SUMMIT COUNTY – Serious drought conditions in Summit County might force local fire officials to stop issuing burn permits by April 1 – a month earlier than in previous years.

According to County Wildfire Mitigation Officer Patti Maguire, last year fire officials were able to issue permits until mid-May, when the state issued a fire ban in anticipation of what would become the worst year on record for wildfires in Colorado.

“And driving up from the Front Range not too long ago, the CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) signs were saying, “High fire danger in lower elevations,’ – in January,” Maguire said. “I’ve never seen that before.”

There are a few rules regarding burn permits, Maguire said:

– Slash piles can be no larger than 10 feet in diameter

– Fires must be attended at all times

– Tools and a water (or snow) supply must be readily available

– A 25-foot clearance must be provided around the fire

– Fires can take place only from daylight to dusk

– The permittee must call Summit County’s dispatch center at (970) 668-8600 when starting the fire and again when the fire is extinguished

– Nothing larger than 2.5 inches in diameter can be burned in slash piles. Construction debris, furniture, logs, stumps, chemicals and household waste are prohibited.

Permits for burns in unincorporated Summit County are available by calling Maguire at (970) 513-4237. Permits for fires in the Upper Blue area are available through the Red, White and Blue Fire Department in Breckenridge, at (970) 453-2474. All others are available through local fire departments.

“I’m getting prepared for a busy season,” Maguire said. “We don’t know (what summer will bring), but we have to be prepared. It’s not looking good.”

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or jstebbins@summitdaily.com.

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