White River National Forest officials ease fire restrictions | SummitDaily.com

White River National Forest officials ease fire restrictions

SUMMIT COUNTY – The Summit County Commissioners amended the local fire ban Monday to mirror lighter restrictions adopted late last week by the White River National Forest.

Effective Sept. 20, fire restrictions were reduced from Stage II to Stage I. That means fires are now allowed in developed campgrounds, along with sheepherder stoves and petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns or heating devices.

Private property owners who want to burn slash or other material can do so but must first obtain a burn permit from their local fire department. Lake Dillon Fire Chief Francis Winston, who last week said he felt the fire ban should stay as is until the end of the year, said Monday he’s OK with the commissioners’ decision.

“I think it’s fine,” he said. “The dry fuels are not conducive to a real rip-roarer now because we’re having cooler temperatures and shorter days.”

Gov. Bill Owens lifted the state fire ban Sept. 12.

Despite the easing of the fire ban, Forest Service officials said people should continue to exercise caution.

“Twenty-one wildland firefighters across the nation died this year, and more than 10,000 square miles have burned,” said acting forest supervisor Steve Deitemeyer. “If people forget how dry the woods are, those totals could rise. The drought is not over, and historically, one of every four wildfires in this region started after Sept. 1.”

Forest Service officials encourage hunters to be careful with gas lanterns and gas stoves and to park on bare ground or pavement to avoid the possibility of a fire sparked by a hot engine.

Jane Reuter can be reached at 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at jreuter@summitdaily.com

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