White River National Forest, local office BLM reduce fire restrictions to Stage 1 starting Friday, Aug. 31 | VailDaily.com

White River National Forest, local office BLM reduce fire restrictions to Stage 1 starting Friday, Aug. 31

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GLENDWOOD SPRINGS — Lower temperatures, increased moisture and humidity over the past few weeks have improved fuel conditions in the White River National Forest and lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management Colorado River Valley Field Office. Effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 31, the White River National Forest and BLM lands in Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties will reduce fire restrictions from Stage 2 to Stage 1.

"The last few weeks we have received some much-needed moisture and cooler temperatures around the forest," said Scott Fitzwilliams, forest supervisor. "Stage 1 restrictions will remain in place because the risk for wildfire is still out there. We are glad we are in a position to lift Stage 2 restrictions ahead of the holiday weekend; however, we continue to ask the public to recreate responsibly."

The Dillon Ranger District, including all White River National Forest lands in Summit County, have been in Stage 1 fire restrictions since Wednesday, Aug. 8, and will remain in Stage 1 fire restrictions. BLM lands in Mesa County and those in Garfield County managed by the Grand Junction Field Office will no longer be under fire restrictions.

"Fire danger remains high and conditions can change daily, so we need people to continue to be vigilant," said BLM Colorado River Valley Acting Field Manager Gloria Tibbetts.

Fire managers base decisions about fire restrictions on specific moisture measurements in vegetation and other risk factors such as predicted weather and the amount of current fire activity. The following Stage 1 restrictions will be enforced on all White River National Forest lands and BLM lands within Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties:

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

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• No fires of any type, including charcoal, are allowed outside of developed areas, except fires that are maintained or attended within a device that has a spark arrestor and where the fire is fully enclosed at all times, such as a sheepherder-type stove.

• No smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or in a barren area at least 3 feet in diameter.

• No welding or operation of an acetylene or other similar torch with open flame except in an area that has been cleared of vegetation 10 feet on all sides.

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

• Fireworks, exploding targets or other types of explosives are always prohibited on all national forest and BLM lands.

Fire restrictions on these lands will be in place until further notice. Those found responsible for starting wildfires may face criminal prosecution and paying restitution costs for suppressing the fire.

For more information about fire restrictions, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/whiteriver.