Stage 1 fire restrictions imposed in Garfield, Mesa counties

Matthew Bennett
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

GARFIELD COUNTY — Stage 1 fire restrictions went into effect for most of Bureau of Land Management lands in Garfield and Mesa counties beginning Friday, June 8.

The restrictions encompass all property administered by the Grand Junction Field Office in addition to BLM lands in Garfield and Mesa counties managed by the Colorado River Valley Field Office.

In addition, Stage 1 fire restrictions have already been designated for unincorporated private lands in Garfield and Mesa counties. All unincorporated private lands, as well as all BLM property, in Montrose County are also now under fire restrictions.

The decision comes after fire managers assessed further moisture measurements in vegetation and other hazardous factors.

“Recent hot and dry weather is increasing fire danger, and we are seeing particularly high fire danger at elevations below about 8,000 feet,” Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire and Aviation Management Unit Fire Management Officer Rob Berger said in a news release. “Stage 1 fire restrictions help reduce the number of human-caused fires as well as increase public awareness of the high fire danger.”

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According to the release, the Bureau of Land Management will be enforcing temporary restrictions of the following activities.

• Campfires are only allowed within designated fire grates in developed campgrounds (i.e. a metal, in-ground containment structure; fire pans and rock campfire rings are not acceptable).

• No fires of any type, including charcoal, outside of developed areas.

• No smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or in a barren area free of vegetation.

• No use of explosive materials, including explosive targets.

• No welding or operation of an acetylene or other similar torch with open flame except from an area that has been cleared of vegetation.

• No operation of any internal combustion engine without a spark-arresting device properly installed and in working order.

These restrictions will remain in place until further notice. Violation of federal fire restrictions is punishable by a fine of no more than $100,000 or imprisonment for not more than 12 months or both.

Fireworks are never allowed on BLM, National Forest or National Park Service lands.

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