Fire officials report finding several unattended campfires
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Unattended campfires across western Colorado are once again causing concern for land managers, who are warning campers that the fire danger is increasing as warm and windy weather melts the snowpack and dries out fuels.
Since early May, fire crews from the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit have responded to several reports of unattended campfires.
Fire officials are forecasting a moderate to very high fire danger over the next few days. While there are no fire restrictions in effect at this time, all recreationists are urged to exercise caution with open campfires, leaving no fire unattended and to make sure fires are completely out prior to leaving them. Avoid building fires you don’t need.
However, if you do build a fire, it’s recommended that you build campfires only in established fire rings within established recreation facilities. Recreationists should have plenty of water and a shovel near any fire while it is burning. When the time comes to put the fire out, use plenty of water stirring the ashes with the shovel making sure water reaches all of the ashes. Make sure the ashes have stopped sizzling and are cold to the touch with a bare hand before leaving the area.
Fire managers have the flexibility to manage naturally started fires for multiple objectives, including allowing fire to play its natural, beneficial role in the ecosystem. However, all human-caused fires are suppressed by firefighters and fully investigated. Human-caused fires often occur in areas with a greater potential to harm life and property.
Fire officials want folks to enjoy their time outdoors; however, they also remind visitors that unattended campfires are not the only way human-caused wildfires get started. Smoking in brushy areas, heat from vehicle exhaust and converters, fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices are also major causes of wildfire. The use of fireworks or similar devices is prohibited on federal lands.
The ongoing mountain pine beetle epidemic is creating a build-up of fuels in many areas, making the possibility of human-caused wildfire even greater. Not only is the potential greater, the outcomes could significantly more costly and damaging.
Fires should be reported by calling 911 or the UCR dispatch center in Grand Junction at 970-257-4800. Please be prepared to give as much information as possible regarding location and size of the fire when you report it.
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, forest fires, Forest health, pine beetles, pine beetles and wildfires, Summit County Colorado, US Forest Service Tagged: | campfires, camping, Colorado news, Colorado wildfires, fire danger, Summit County News