Forest Service: Fire officials remind public to be safe with fire as restrictions ease in some areas

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. – Fire restrictions are changing across several jurisdictions within the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire and Aviation Management Unit region, and the public is urged to check with local offices before heading out this weekend.

The following areas will remain in Stage 1 fire restrictions until further notice:
• The Dillon Ranger District of the White River National Forest
• All Bureau of Land Management lands within Garfield, Pitkin and Summit counties; and all BLM lands in Eagle County within the Roaring Fork Valley
•  Private lands within Garfield, Pitkin and Summit counties (check with counties for specific rules and exceptions)

The following areas will lift current fire restrictions effective May 20, 2020:
• The Aspen-Sopris, Blanco, Eagle-Holy Cross, and Rifle ranger districts of the White River National Forest
• All Bureau of Land Management lands within Eagle County outside of the Roaring Fork Valley
•  Private lands within Eagle County (check with county for specific rules and exceptions)

Officials consider a number of criteria when determining the need for fire restrictions, including current and anticipated fire danger, resource availability, and consistency with neighboring jurisdictions. Local, county, state and federal officials within the UCR area evaluate and coordinate fire restrictions weekly during fire season.

Land managers urge the public to be extremely careful in areas where fires are allowed and ensure campfires are completely out before leaving camp. Remember that fireworks are prohibited on federal land.

Forest Service: Fire officials remind public to be safe with fire as restrictions ease in some areas

USFS: Acting Regional Forester announces temporary developed recreation site closures and fire restrictions; some recreation opportunities remain available

DENVER, Colo., April 7, 2020 – Acting Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien today announced and signed an order to temporarily close developed recreation sites and an order to implement fire restrictions within the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region to align with local, state and federal orders and guidelines to protect public health and safety. The region includes 24 national forests and grasslands across Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

“While we know that going outside provides forest and grassland visitors needed space, exercise and satisfaction, we are taking the risks presented by COVID-19 seriously,” said Eberlien. “We are providing some recreation opportunities where we can while protecting and keeping employees, the public and our communities safe from the virus, as well as protecting and keeping communities and natural and cultural resources safe from unwanted human-caused wildfires.”

Recreation Closures

Developed recreation sites are temporarily closed while dispersed camping, hiking and river uses are allowed, although discouraged. Closed developed recreation sites include campgrounds, day-use areas, picnic areas, and any other constructed facility amenities – such as potable water stations, fire rings/grills, picnic tables, restroom facilities with flush or vaulted toilets, and trashcans and trash collection services. Parking facilities, trails and trailheads remain open. Dispersed camping includes camping on a national forest or grassland where recreation facilities or services are not provided.

Forest and grassland visitors camping in dispersed recreation sites, hiking or embarking on river activities are encouraged to adhere to the following safety and responsibility guidelines.

  • • Stay close to home to keep other communities safe.
  • • Stay 6 feet apart from others.
  • • Avoid crowding in parking lots, trails, scenic overlooks and other areas.
  • • Take CDC precautions to prevent illnesses like COVID-19.
  • • Prepare for limited or no services, such as restroom facilities and garbage collection.
  • • Prepare to pack out trash and human waste.

Fire Restrictions

Effective immediately until rescinded, the following is prohibited:

1. Igniting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, including charcoal grills and barbecues, coal and wood-burning stoves, and sheepherder’s stoves.

2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, trailer or building.

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The following persons are exempt from fire restrictions:

1. Persons with a Forest Permit, Form FS-7700-48, specifically exempting them from the effect of this Order in the areas listed above.

2. Any Federal, State or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty is exempt from Prohibitions.

3. Persons using pressurized liquid or gas devices (stoves, grills or lanterns) with shut-off valves in an area at least three feet from any flammable materials are exempt from Prohibition #1.

4. Residents, owners or lessees within the areas listed above who are using a fire in a permanent dwelling with an effective and properly installed USDA- or SAE- approved spark arrestor, are exempt from Prohibition #1.

Fire restrictions enhance public safety, protect natural and cultural resources and help prevent human-caused wildfires. Several criteria are used to determine when to implement fire restrictions, including fire activity levels, current and predicted weather, fuel moisture and the availability of emergency and firefighting resources. Additional restrictions may be required if conditions warrant.

Entering upon closed areas or igniting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or smoking on national forests and grasslands is a violation of Federal law and may result in consequent fines and possible jail time.

All offices are conducting business and providing virtual services. For specific forest and grassland information, please visit the region’s forest and grassland directory.

Contact info:
USDA Forest Service
Rocky Mountain Region
1617 Cole Boulevard
Lakewood, CO 80401
(303) 275-5350
www.fs.usda.gov/r2

Media Contact: Barbara Khan
barbara.khan@usda.gov

USFS: Acting Regional Forester announces temporary developed recreation site closures and fire restrictions; some recreation opportunities remain available