Eagle County lifting fire restrictions Friday | VailDaily.com

Eagle County lifting fire restrictions Friday

Officials still urging caution with backcountry fires

Smoke and burned trees remain from the Sylvan Fire, as seen last month near Eagle.
Chris Dillmann/cdillmann@vaildaily.com

Fire managers and officials with state and local agencies have agreed to officially rescind all fire restrictions in Eagle County beginning Friday at 12:01 a.m.— one minute past midnight.

Officials agree that recent moisture, increased humidity and cooler overnight temperatures have helped reduce the current fire danger. Officials still recommend using precautions as conditions remain dry and diligence is always needed in ensuring campfires are completely out — and watched closely when in use.

Still, it’s relatively easy to start a wildfire.

“Just because we’ve come out of restrictions doesn’t mean there’s no risk,“ said Kelsha Anderson, a public information officer with the White River National Forest, adding that most of the forest is still quite dry.

But conditions have improved, lowering the “energy release component” of fuels to below the 75th percentile. That’s the level at which fire restrictions are usually imposed.

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Anderson added that people need to continue to be careful with campfires, noting that someone should be tending that fire at all times, and the fire should be completely extinguished before leaving a campsite.

Anderson noted that U.S. Forest Service rangers have had “a number of conversations” with campers about fire safety and the need for restrictions.

Recent fire restrictions prohibited campfires, smoking in certain areas, cutting, welding, and/or grinding near dry vegetation, operating certain types of vehicles without spark arrestors and the use of steel core or jacketed ammunition. Keep in mind that the use of exploding targets, tracer rounds, steel core ammunition or fireworks remains prohibited on all federal lands at all times.

Tracy LeClair, the Eagle River Fire Protection District’s Community Risk Manager and Public Information Officer, said officials will continue to monitor conditions through the rest of the summer.

LeClair noted that the historic wildfire season starts about now — the last several years being the exception to that trend.

“If we can continue to see afternoon showers — as long as they’re not accompanied by lightning — we could see (conditions) continue to moderate,” LeClair said.

Going into the weekend, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging everyone to have fun while recreating outdoors and keep safety in mind. Residents and visitors are urged to take personal responsibility and prepare before a wildland fire occurs.

For more information about fire restriction in Eagle County, go to ECEmergency.org.

View fire information across Colorado at COEmergency.com/p/fire-bans-danger.html.

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