Summit County maintains Stage 1 fire restrictions despite improving conditions | SummitDaily.com

Summit County maintains Stage 1 fire restrictions despite improving conditions

The Board of County Commissioners decided Thursday to keep Summit County in Stage 1 fire restrictions in anticipation of the late-season fire danger that usually starts in September.

"We have seen some rain and cooler temperatures in recent weeks, but our second fire season is right around the corner, and it wouldn't be unusual for us to dry out again," said Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs. "We don't feel it's practical or safe to jump in and out of fire restrictions at a moment's notice as conditions change from week to week."

Remaining in Stage 1 fire restrictions maintains consistency with other jurisdictions in Summit County, including U.S. Forest Service lands. The Dillon Ranger District and the towns of Breckenridge, Blue River, Dillon, Silverthorne and Frisco all have Stage 1 restrictions in place. All other ranger districts in the White River National Forest are in Stage 2 restrictions, and multiple fire-related emergency closures are in place.

"The vast majority of wildfires are caused by humans, so public education about fire restrictions is a key pillar of our wildfire prevention efforts," said Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons. "In a community with such a large number of visitors, it's just not realistic to expect that people will understand and abide by a patchwork of different fire-restriction levels across half a dozen jurisdictions in one county, especially as we head toward a big holiday weekend."

The Board of County Commissioners also cited concerns about the pressure on firefighting resources across the West, given the extraordinary level of fire activity. According to the U.S. Forest Service, there are approximately 105 wildfires currently burning on 1.8 million acres of private, state, tribal and federal land.

Fire districts, county officials and U.S. Forest Service personnel will continue to monitor conditions throughout the late summer and fall to determine when it is appropriate to lift fire restrictions.