Open fires, private fireworks now prohibited
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —Although the two biggest wildfires currently burning in Colorado were both started by lightning, state officials want to reduce the chance of human-caused blazes by implementing a statewide ban on open fires and the private use of fireworks.
A bone-dry late winter and spring, along with well-above average temperatures several months in a row, have created dangerous fire conditions throughout much of the state. Any small fires could quickly grow out of control.
By most measures, at least three-quarters of all wildfires are started by human activities, including carelessness, escaped agricultural fires, forestry operations, sparks from off-road vehicles and even discarded cigarettes. Those statistics hold true in most other countries, as well.
“We can’t completely eliminate the threat of wildfire because there’s no way to control Mother Nature,” Hickenlooper said. “But we can take steps to reduce the risks of more wildfires starting. This ban is a necessary step to help protect people, property and the beautiful state we live in.”
The ban does not apply to campfires in constructed, permanent fire pits or fire grates within developed camp and picnic grounds or recreation sites. Campers can also use liquid- and gas-fueled stoves, and fireplaces contained within buildings; charcoal grills at private residences, as well as prescribed or controlled burns for agricultural or irrigation purposes are also still permitted.
Commercial, professional and municipal fireworks displays are allowed when written approval has been granted by the sheriff of the county in which the fireworks display is to occur.
Most Colorado counties have already adopted fire bans. At least 44 of the state’s 64 counties are now listed with “high,” “very high” or “extreme” wildfire danger. The wildfire danger and individual restrictions for every Colorado county can be found at www.colorado.gov.
The governor’s order doesn’t replace any other fire bans already implemented at the local level. Where permitted by law, counties and other local governments may ban any or all of the open burning exemptions listed in the statewide ban when local officials determine that a more restrictive ban is appropriate and warranted given fire danger conditions in their localities.