Dry, hot weather worries fire officials | VailDaily.com

Dry, hot weather worries fire officials

Matt Terrell
Vail CO, Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY ” After reading about forest fires just an hour down the road, Keithen Luplow will be pretty careful heating up his chili and corn.

“That’s what I eat on camping trips ” I just dump them together,” Luplow said. “I’d hate to be the guy that burned down the forest though.”

A fire ban hasn’t hit Eagle County yet, but one could start if this spell of dry, hot weather continues, officials say.

“We haven’t had any rain in four or five days and things are beginning to dry out,” said Kim Andree, spokeswoman for the Eagle County Sheriff’s Department. “If it continues, if it hits that extreme, we’ll look for a fire ban.”

While forest fires have been burning away in Garfield and Mesa counties, Eagle County has been pretty quiet so far. The White River National Forest as a whole isn’t at that high risk level yet and hasn’t started its own fire restrictions, a Forest Service official said.

At higher elevations, there’s still snow on the mountains and the risk isn’t as high. The further down you go though, the grass becomes crunchier and the fire risk goes up.

“In Gypsum, we’re looking at high fire danger, at Dowd Junction, only moderate,” said Barry Smith, emergency management director for Eagle County. “Just because there’s moderate fire danger doesn’t mean we can’t have a fire though.”

Smith said it’s difficult to impose bans on sections of a county, so they usually look at risk averages over a period of time. Currently, the only area with fire restrictions is Bureau of Land Management land, which is mostly in the western part of the county.

“We learned some recent lessons of what fire can do just because it’s so dry,” Andree said. “We are asking people to use common sense, to make sure nothing starts.”

The National Weather Service forecasts sunny skies in Avon on Sunday and Monday with highs around 86 and lows around 44.

Staff writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.


About half the wildfires in Eagle County are lightening related. The rest are human related. Here’s how to prevent them and protect your home:

– If you build a campfire, use a fire pit and clear the area surrounding the pit of grass, debris, or anything that could spread a fire.

– Keep campfires small ” they’ll still cook your food.

– If possible, use a camping stove instead.

– Always keep a shovel, dirt and a bucket of water handy to put out fires if they get out of hand.

– Don’t throw cigarettes out of windows ” put them out in your car or buildings with proper disposal areas.

– It’s illegal to set off fireworks that leave the ground in Colorado. Don’t use them. It IS legal, though, to possess them.

– Stack firewood at least 30 feet away and uphill from your home.

– Clear combustible material within 15 feet.

– Mow grass regularly.

– Rake leaves, dead limbs and twigs. Clear all flammable vegetation.

– Remove leaves and rubbish from under structures.

– Remove vines from the walls of the home.

– Remove dead branches that extend over the roof.

– Prune tree branches and shrubs within 15 feet of a stovepipe or chimney outlet.

– Ask the power company to clear branches from power lines.

Source: Eagle County

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