The Garfield County Sheriff, Bureau of Land Management and the seven Fire Districts in Garfield County are implementing Stage 1 Fire Restrictions effective at 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 21. This applies to all of unincorporated Garfield County.
“This decision was made with thoughtful consideration. We look at the data, the potential for significant wildfires and balance it with the impacts to our community,” states a press release. “Our concern, with the level of fire danger we are seeing: one spark could quickly spread into a dangerous wildfire threatening lives, property and natural resources.”
Fire restrictions are implemented based on specific criteria including: moisture content of vegetation, weather outlooks, human risk factors and firefighting resource availability. It’s been hot, dry and unseasonably windy. So far this year, we’ve had 12 Red Flag Warnings which is more than what we typically see over an entire year. The National Weather Service is forecasting above average temperatures and dry conditions with no relief from rain anytime soon.
With increasingly dry vegetation, severe drought conditions, and more hot and dry conditions approaching, the danger for human caused wildfires increases even more.
What Stage 1 Fire Restrictions mean in Garfield County:
- Fireworks are not allowed under Stage I Fire Restrictions. Professional fireworks shows may be allowed through the permitting process.
- All burn permits are postponed/Canceled until further notice.
- Campfires are only allowed within designated fire grates in Developed Areas (i.e. a permanent in-ground containment structure or store bought fire pit) A temporary fire pan and rock campfire rings will not be acceptable.
- No fires of any type including charcoal in Undeveloped Areas.
- No smoking except within a designated area, enclosed vehicle or building, a developed area or in an area free of combustibles.
- No use of fireworks or explosive materials, including “exploding” targets or bullets and tracer rounds.
- Exercise common sense and industry safety practice when welding or operation of an acetylene or other similar torch with open flame always cleared safe area of vegetation and combustibles.
Causing a fire during fire restrictions can be a class 6 felony and can be punishable by fines. Other possible charges include Fourth Degree Arson (M2) and Intentionally Setting a Wildfire (F3). You may also be held financially responsible for damage caused.