Summit County returns to Stage 2 fire restrictions as US Forest Service stresses caution
Summit County will reenter Stage 2 fire restrictions Wednesday.
The Summit Board of County Commissioners voted to reenact Stage 2 fire restrictions during an emergency meeting Tuesday night, according to Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence. The new restrictions go into effect Wednesday, Oct. 21.
The county lifted its Stage 2 restrictions Oct. 2 following the lead of the White River National Forest, which returned to Stage 1 restrictions the same day. But with dry conditions and wildfires burning across the state, the commissioners decided to tighten things up again.
“We were very disappointed when we came out of Stage 2 restrictions,” Lawrence said. “But per the agreements we’ve reached with the Dillon Ranger District, when the national forest was coming out, we all agreed to be in the same (restrictions) at the same time. … Here we are on Oct. 20, and it’s continuing to remain unseasonably warm, dry and windy.”
Lawrence pointed to the widespread closure of U.S. Forest Service lands announced Tuesday due to wildfire danger — including all national forest lands in Clear Creek, Jefferson, Gilpin, Boulder and Larimer counties — and said the county would be pushing the Dillon Ranger District to return to Stage 2 restrictions, as well.
“We’re advocating tonight, and all day tomorrow, to get the Dillon Ranger District in Stage 2 along with us,” Lawrence said. “… We still have a high fire danger. Things are extremely dry out here and on top of the economic impacts of COVID, we certainly cannot have the economic impacts of a fire.”
Under Stage 2 restrictions, fires are prohibited in picnic areas, campgrounds, private property and forested areas.
While the White River National Forest remains in Stage 1 restrictions for now, forest officials are urging visitors to remain vigilant and follow the restrictions closely. There have been several complaints about illegal and abandoned campfires recently, according to the Forest Service.
“We are still seeing large fires with extreme fire behavior in many parts of Colorado,” White River Deputy Supervisor Lisa Stoeffler said. “The same potential exists in the White River National Forest, and resources are stretch thin across the region. This isn’t your typical October in Colorado. We absolutely need people to be smart when it comes to fire.”
Under Stage 1 restrictions, campfires and charcoal are allowed only in developed Forest Service campgrounds in the provided metal fire rings and grates. Where fires are allowed, campers should drown their campfires with water and stir it until the coals are cool to the touch before leaving.
Propane and other petroleum-fueled stoves and camping equipment are allowed throughout the forest under Stage 1, as are sheep-herder and other wood-burning stoves often used in hunting tents provided they are fully enclosed metal stoves with a chimney at least five feet in length and have a spark arrestor with a screen opening of one-quarter inch or less.
For more information about Stage 1 fire restrictions on the White River National Forest, call 970-945-2521 or visit FS.USDA.gov/whiteriver.
- Use of charcoal grills
- Fires in chimeneas or any other outdoor fireplace or manufactured recreational fire device, regardless of any permit previously issued by the local fire district
- Use of explosives, tracer ammunition or explosive targets
- Use or sale of fireworks
- Pile burns, regardless of previously issued permits
- Inflation or propulsion of a hot air balloon
- Use of any engine without a properly functioning spark arresting device.
- Use of gas grills and wood pellet grills
- Any fire contained within a fireplace, stove, wood burning stove or pellet stove designed for and located within a fully enclosed permanent structure
- Use of off-highway vehicles, which must remain on designated routes. If parked, off-highway vehicles must be in a barren area free of flammable vegetation, within 10 feet of the route or in a designated parking area.
- Smoking must take place a minimum of 3 feet from natural vegetation or other flammable material; all smoking materials, including cigarettes and matches, must be fully extinguished, cooled and disposed of in a designated receptacle.
- Use of an open-flame torch device. The operator must have immediate access to a fire extinguisher and be at least 15 feet from natural vegetation or other flammable material.
- Use of a chainsaw. The operator must have immediate access to a minimum 2A:10B:C dry chemical fire extinguisher.
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