Summit County enacts Stage 2 fire restrictions, closes shooting range
FRISCO — Summit County will go into Stage 2 fire restrictions Friday, Aug. 14.
The Summit Board of County Commissioners enacted the restrictions during a special meeting Thursday, Aug. 13, noting high fire danger in the area due to a lack of precipitation and higher temperatures, along with increased wildfire activity across the Western Slope.
“With Glenwood Canyon on fire and the fire burning north of Grand Junction, resources regionally are spread pretty thin right now,” said Steve Lipsher, a spokesperson for Summit Fire & EMS. “And so if we get a fire here, we’d be competing with those other fires with things like aircraft, firefighters, apparatus and more. When you put all of those things into the mixing bowl, you end up with a pretty heightened sense of threat.”
Under Stage 2 restrictions, fires are prohibited in picnic areas, campgrounds, private property and forested areas. The restrictions also ban the use of charcoal grills, fireworks, explosives, pile buns and more. Backyard campfires in chimneys or other outside fireplaces also will be prohibited, regardless of any previously held permit.
Use of gas and wood-pellet grills is allowed.
- Fires in picnic areas, campgrounds, private property and forested areas
- 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.
“These restrictions are necessary given the extreme fire conditions and no relief from the weather in sight,” White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said in a news release. “We need to do all we can to prevent additional fire starts, and we really need the public to be extremely cognizant of the extreme fire danger.”
The forecast calls for below normal precipitation and high temperatures in Summit County over the next several weeks, according to the National Weather Service. And the U.S. Drought Monitor reports much of the county is in a moderate drought.
“As is typical at this time of year, our finer fuels like grasses and shrubs are drying out,” Lipsher said. “We haven’t gotten any substantial moisture. So our fuel moisture levels have dropped to the point where those are very susceptible to burning. When they get this dry, they burn hot, they burn fast and they spread.”
The county also has enacted a full closure of the Summit County Shooting Range in an effort to prevent ammunition from sparking a fire. Exploding targets and tracer ammunition are prohibited, as well.
Thanks to an intergovernmental agreement, the towns of Blue River, Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne also will all enter Stage 2 fire restrictions Friday, Aug. 14, along with the Dillon Ranger District of the White River National Forest. The Bureau of Land Management implemented Stage 2 fire restrictions Thursday on its managed lands in Summit and nearby counties.
All of Summit County’s law enforcement agencies will be enforcing the restrictions, according to the county. For more information about the fire restrictions, visit SummitCountyCo.gov/wildfire.
- Use of gas or 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, which 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, which requires the operator to have immediate access to a fire extinguisher and be at least 15 feet from natural vegetation or other flammable material.
- Use of a chain saw, which requires the operator to have immediate access to a minimum 2A:10B:C dry chemical fire extinguisher.
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