Towns looking at fire restrictions
DILLON – Local towns are beginning to follow the county’s lead in enacting fire restrictions in their respective territories.The Dillon Town Council will consider an ordinance calling for a fire ban tonight, while the Frisco Town Council is scheduled to see a similar ordinance at its regular meeting next Tuesday. Ripe conditions in local forests and grasslands and a dry weather forecast prompted the Board of County Commissions to approve Level 1 fire restrictions in unincorporated Summit County last week, prohibiting open fires and the use of fireworks.Fires contained in designated rings at improved campgrounds and fires at private residences continue to be permitted.With the fire danger idling at “very high” in the county, and Colorado’s entire Western Slope under a red flag warning for critical fire weather conditions, it’s critical that the restrictions be taken seriously, said Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue Chief Dave Parmley.”I think it pays to certainly strongly emphasize the awareness and all due caution because the right circumstances, particularly with gusty winds, can certainly become a much larger fire quicker,” Parmley said.Although Summit County hasn’t seen any fire activity yet this summer, local wildland firefighters responded to neighboring Grand County last week near Ute Pass Road to help control a 30-acre fire there.The dry long-range weather forecast mixed with the potential of thunder and lightning storms is a concern to fire officials.”It wouldn’t take a whole lot for us … to quickly max our resources in the right situation,” Parmley said.To prepare, Lake Dillon firefighters are showing up for shifts partially dressed in wildland gear, donning their fire resistant pants and boots so they have one less thing to worry about when the call comes out, Parmley said.The public should help as well, he said.When folks are out recreating in the county, they should be diligent about everything from properly disposing of hot materials to making sure engine sparks don’t ignite dry grasses.On a forest-wide level, all the counties in the White River National Forest, except for Rio Blanco near Meeker, are under fire restrictions, and the Forest Service may not be too far behind.”We are definitely considering it right now. We are monitoring our field moistures and predicted weather very carefully,” said White River National Forest spokesperson Kristi Ponozzo, adding that the Forest Service could enter restrictions in the next two weeks. Ponozzo said the Forest Service is very careful about enacting restrictions as to not adversely affect people who want to recreate in the National Forest.Red, White and Blue Fire Department officials are monitoring conditions on a daily basis, but don’t have any immediate plans to ask the Breckenridge Town Council to enact restrictions there, said Capt. Kim Scott. The fire department will decide whether it’s safe enough to light off the Fourth of July fireworks show about a week before the holiday, she added.Silverthorne Police Chief Joe Russell said if the dry weather trend continues, he may recommend the town council consider fire restrictions.Level 1 fire restrictionsProhibits the use of fireworks and open fires, except for those at private residences and those contained in designated rings in improved campgrounds. In Summit County, those campgrounds are Pine Cove, Peak One, Heaton Bay, Prospector, Windy Point, Lowry, Blue River, Prairie Point, McDonald Flats, Cataract, Davis Springs, Willows, Elliot Creek, North Cow Creek and South Cow Creek. The penalty for violating the fire ban is a $150 fine for the first offense, $500 for the second offense and $1,000 for all subsequent offenses.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13625, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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