Colorado Gov. Jared Polis extends Fire Ban Executive Order through Oct. 7, citing how COVID-19 has affected wildfire response | VailDaily.com
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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis extends Fire Ban Executive Order through Oct. 7, citing how COVID-19 has affected wildfire response

Firefighters found stacked wood near an illegal campfire that was the cause of a wildland fire in May. The campfire was in the South Thompson Creek area about 11 miles southwest of Carbondale. U.S. Forest Service/courtesy photo

Gov. Jared Polis extended the Fire Ban Executive Order for an extra 30 days on Monday, which orders “the temporary suspension of statute concerning bans on open burning,” citing concern over how COVID-19 has affected wildfire management.

“Large wildfires require an inter-agency response that relies on local, state, and federal cooperation and coordination. Given the current strain on government resources due to COVID-19, any wildfire response would be diminished, which risks enabling a fire to grow and spread, which in turn
requires even more resources for firefighting,” Polis wrote in an executive order dated Sept. 7.

The order maintains state power to invoke fire bans or restrictions over local municipalities until October 7.

On August 19, Polis implemented fire restrictions across the state with the exception that “local officials determine that a more restrictive ban is appropriate and warranted given fire danger and other conditions in their localities.”

Restricted activities across the state:

  • Any outdoor fire, including but not limited to campfires, warming fires,
    and charcoal grill fires;
  • Fireworks;
  • Explosives;
  • Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed
    recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least six (6) feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material;
  • Operating a chainsaw without an approved spark arrester properly
    installed and in effective working order, a chemical pressurized fire
    extinguisher kept with the operator, and one (1) round point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches readily available for
    use;
  • Welding or operating acetylene or another torch with open flame except in cleared areas of at least 10 feet in diameter and in possession of a
    chemical pressurized fire extinguisher;
  • The use of tracer ammunition or any ammunition with an incendiary
    component, and the use of novel explosive shooting targets with Tannerite or other similar substances, that would explode and create heat or fire upon impact;
  • Any other activity that poses a significant risk of starting a fire.

The restrictions do not include fires in:

  • Fireplaces contained within buildings;
  • Liquid-fueled or gas-fueled stoves;
  • Charcoal grills at private residences;
  • Constructed, permanent fire pits or fire grates within developed camp a
    picnic grounds or recreation site;
  • Portable stoves, lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum, pressurized liquid
    fuel, or a fully enclosed (sheepherder type) stove with a one-quarter (0.25) inch spark arrester type screen; and
  • Fires in connection with prescribed or controlled burns for agricultural or irrigation purposes along ditches located within and completely
    surrounded by irrigated farmlands where such burning is necessary for
    crop survival and where specific written approval has been granted by the sheriff of the county where the prescribed burn will occur.

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