Sopris Sun Staff Report

Stage 1 fire restrictions on private lands within Garfield County and on Bureau of Land Management lands managed by the Colorado River Valley Field Office are now under way, according to a press release.

Fire managers base decisions about fire restrictions on specific moisture measurements in vegetation and other risk factors. Several weeks of hot, dry weather has increased fire danger to high levels at elevations below 8,000 feet.

These restrictions include BLM lands in Eagle, Garfield, Mesa, Pitkin and Routt counties managed by the Colorado River Valley Field Office, along with private lands in Garfield County.

BLM and Garfield County will be enforcing temporary restrictions of:

• Campfires are only allowed within designated fire grates in developed campgrounds (i.e. a metal, in-ground containment structure — fire pans and rock campfires rings are not acceptable);

• No fires of any type including charcoal outside of developed areas:

• No smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or in a barren area free of vegetation;

• No use of explosive materials;

• No welding or operation of an acetylene or other similar torch with open flame except from an area that has been cleared of vegetation;

• No operation of any internal combustion engine without a spark-arresting device properly installed and in working order.

Fireworks are always prohibited on BLM, National Forest and National Park Service lands.

Based on local conditions, the White River National Forest is not initiating fire restrictions at this time, nor are Eagle and Pitkin counties for private lands. Fire officials caution that there is still a fire danger in these areas and urge caution with fire.

Restrictions on these BLM lands will be in place until further notice. Violation of federal fire restrictions is punishable by a fine of not more than $100,000 or imprisonment for not more than 12 months or both. Those found responsible for starting wildfires will also face restitution costs of suppressing the fire.

For more information about fire restrictions in these areas, log on to

rmcc/dispatch_centers/r2gjc/ or call the Colorado River Valley Field Office at 876-9000.