Summit County enacts beefed-up fire restrictions

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Date:  June 20, 2012

Contact: Tracy LeClair

(970) 423-8903

TracyL@co.summit.co.us

 

 

STAGE II FIRE RESTRICTIONS GO INTO EFFECT
JUNE 20, 2012 IN SUMMIT COUNTY

 

SUMMIT COUNTY, COLORADO – Summit County officials on Wednesday implemented new fire restrictions, banning all open burning due to the extremely dry conditions in the county and the occurrence of large wildfires elsewhere in the state.   The Summit County Commissioners, at the request of Summit County Sheriff John Minor, have signed Resolution 2012-40, enacting Stage II Fire Restrictions in unincorporated areas of Summit County, in coordination with the U.S. Forest Service, which anticipates enacting its own Stage II Fire Restrictions in the White River National Forest on Friday.  The current fire danger indices are at the “extreme” level, and the weather forecast predicts continued dryness with the potential for high winds.

 

Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said, “We hope our residents and visitors will enjoy our cooler high elevation temperatures while respecting the extreme fire conditions in the high country.”

 

Red, White and Blue Fire District Chief Lori Miller agreed, and added that she understands the effect these restrictions will have on summer recreation, but the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience.  “We need the public’s help to prevent human-caused fires,” she explained.  “Stay vigilant. We are in this together for the long haul, and we must rely on each other to be as prepared and safe as possible.”

Stage II Fire Restrictions prohibit all open burning. The term “open burning” means any outdoor fire, including but not limited to campfires, warming fires, charcoal grill fires, fused explosives, fireworks, and any other activity that poses a significant risk of starting a fire.  In addition, the following activities are expressly prohibited to the extent not otherwise prohibited above:

1.      Disposing of any burning object outdoors, including without limitation cigarettes, marijuana, cigars or matches.

2.      Using or selling fireworks.

3.      Operating a chainsaw without an approved spark arrester, 5 gallons of water, a 2A10BC classified dry chemical fire extinguisher and a round point shovel with an overall length of at least 36 inches.  The fire extinguisher must be immediately accessible to the equipment operator.  The water and shovel may be kept with fueling supplies but must be readily available for use.

4.      Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame.

5.      Inflating or propelling hot air balloons.

 

“Open burning” does not include use of liquid-fueled or gas-fueled stoves, fires in fireplaces contained within buildings, and commercial, professional and municipal fireworks displays where specific written approval has been granted by the Summit County Sheriff.

 

“We never advocate for fire restrictions lightly,” said Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue Chief Dave Parmley, “and we know that the more restrictive ban potentially diminishes the recreational experience and some of the activities that we all enjoy in the outdoors during the summer. But given the condition of the forests and the unprecedented dry weather experienced thus far this season, the likelihood for any type of ignition to grow quickly into a devastating wildfire is very real and can pose a serious risk to lives and property. We appreciate everyone’s heightened awareness and cooperation when it comes to complying with the Stage II fire ban.”

 

Violation of these restrictions is a Class 2 Petty Offense, and is punishable by a fine of $150 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense, and $1,000 for all subsequent violations.  The last time Stage II Fire Restrictions were enacted in Summit County was 2002.

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