This should go without saying but open fires or flammable activity of any kind is a bad idea right now. Both the San Juan National Forest and La Plata County enacted Stage I fire restrictions this week. Open burning is banned on all lands in unincorporated La Plata County as well as national forest lands. The bans prohibit:
• Open burning, burn barrels and building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, coal or wood-burning stove, any type of charcoal-fueled broiler, or open fire in undeveloped areas. (Exception: Charcoal or gas barbecue grills at private residences or small fires inside established fire rings with a grate cover in a developed recreation area or within a designated campground are allowed.)
• Igniting, building, maintaining or using fire (includes fires fueled by charcoal or briquettes) outside a permanent fire pit or grate that the Forest Service has installed and maintained at developed recreation sites such as campgrounds and picnic areas. (Exception: The use of a gas stove or grill.)
• Smoking except in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area with at least a 3-foot diameter area cleared of flammable materials.
• Use of explosive material, i.e., fireworks, blasting caps, exploding targets or incendiary devices. (Exception: construction areas with written authorization from the fire chief.)
• Use of internal combustion engine unless equipped with spark arrester.
• Welding and cutting unless conducted with a 20-foot radius free of vegetation, proper tools on site and a fire watch individual standing by with either an approved fire extinguisher or pressurized water supply.
• Flaring for well production unless approved by designated fire chief.
• The use of floating sky lanterns, fire balloons or acetylene balloons.
A violation of the fire restrictions could result in fines up to $500/per violation. The Stage I fire restrictions will remain in effect until the threat of fire danger has either reduced significantly or an increase in risks leads to stricter Stage II restrictions.
Residents can sign up for CodeRED fire evacuation notices and emergency updates via cell phone or email at: bit.ly/CodeRed_signup.
For additional information, call La Plata County at 970-382-6210. For information on fire restrictions on the San Juan National Forest, call 970-247-4874, visit the www.fs.usda.gov/sanjuan or follow them on Twitter or Facebook.
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