Summer is in full swing in Northwest Colorado with its clear and bright days, temperatures drifting toward the 90s, kayakers, climbers and bikers everywhere, and summer fire restrictions in place.
Effective today, zones 1, 2, and 3 of Moffat County are under full fire ban because of dry conditions. The ban was put into place on the advice of the Moffat County Sheriff's department.
"The Bureau of Land Management has told us we have the same conditions we had last year," said Moffat County Undersheriff Jerry Hoberg. "So we're recommending that all of the county west of Highway 13 be put under full fire ban. East of Highway 13 will have no fire restrictions of any type right now."
The recommendation was approved by the Moffat County Board of County Commissioners at their meeting Friday.
In the areas under this ban, the following conditions are enforced:
No one may build, maintain, attend or use any fire to burn trash, debris, fence rows or vegetation; build a campfire, warming fire or charcoal grill except in designated campgrounds, picnic areas or developed recreation sites where permanent fire pits or fire grates are located.
Smoking is prohibited, except when within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area of at least three feet in diameter that is barren and cleared of all flammable material.
No one may operate a chainsaw without a USDA or SAE approved spark arresting device properly installed and in effective working order, a chemical pressurized 5-pound fire extinguisher, and a round pointed shovel with an overall length of at least 36 inches. The extinguisher must be with the chainsaw operator, while the shovel may be kept with the fueling supplies but readily available for quick use.
Welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame is prohibited, except within an area that is barren or cleared of all flammable material at least 10 feet on all sides from the equipment; an operator must possess a chemical pressurized 5-pound fire extinguisher, and one round pointed shovel with an overall length of at least 36 inches. The extinguisher and shovel may be kept with the welding supplies but must be readily available for quick use.
No one may use explosive requiring fuses or blasting caps.
Discharge of any fireworks is prohibited.
There are exceptions to these conditions, which are:
Persons with a valid written permit from the jurisdictional federal agency or Sheriff's Department, and which specifically authorizes the prohibited act.
Any federal, state or local officer or member of the organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
Any fires contained within liquid-fueled or gas-fueled stoves, fireplaces within buildings, charcoal grill fires at private residences, and permanent fire pits or fire grates located in developed picnic grounds and campgrounds.
The burning of irrigation ditches located within and completely surrounded by irrigated farmlands where such burning is necessary for crop survival and specific written permit has been granted in advance by the Sheriff.
Campfires or bonfires required in religious ceremonies and for which a valid written permit has been granted in advance by the administering federal agency or sheriff.
The Moffat County Commissioners and the Sheriff's Department are in the process of reviewing the penalties for violating the ban. The new penalties will be adopted in the next few weeks.