Moffat County fire danger rated 'extreme'

Sheriff, Bureau of Land Management discuss fire ban 'zones'

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Based on a conference call with Bureau of Land Management representatives today, Moffat County Sheriff Buddy Grindstead said he would recommend a countywide fire ban to commissioners at a meeting on June 18.

The Craig Interagency Dispatch Center has rated the current fire condition in Moffat as "extreme."

The Moffat County commissioners are at a Colorado Counties, Inc. conference in Vail.

"I'll talk to the commissioners and we may call a special meeting," said Moffat County Commissioner T. Wright Dickinson from his cellular phone. "The main thing is that everyone is careful. It's common sense that prevents fires, not a fire ban."

"Folks know better than to be playing with matches right now anyway. They don't need the commissioners telling them that."

Grinstead said he also hoped residents would use comon sense when it came to use of fire if the meeting does not occur until June 18.

The county commissioners must approve any restrictions or bans before they go into effect.

The Moffat County Sheriff's Office conducted a conference call with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) this morning to discuss the possibilities of a local ban.

Under Sheriff Jerry Hoberg said the BLM would provide extensive information about local weather and soil conditions during the meeting.

Hoberg said the BLM would break the information down into county "zone" totals. Those totals would include data concerning specific zone moisture levels. From that information, the sheriff would then make a decision as to which zones would be subject to a ban or restriction.

Hoberg said that because the information is analyzed according to zone, it is possible only sections of the Craig area will be affected.

What this may mean to Fourth of July celebrations is unclear.

The Bureau of Land Management Little Snake Field Office has already ordered its own fire restriction for area lands under its supervision.

"We're setting records for dryness," said Little Snake BLM Field Manager John Husband. "It's a concern. With the winds we had over the weekend, it's just very dry again."

BLM prohibitions on public lands include:

Building, maintaining, attending or using any open fire or campfire.

Fires in BLM-provided grates within developed recreational sites are allowed.

Stoves using pressurized liquid or gas are also allowed.

Smoking unless within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.

Fireworks and explosives requiring fuse blasting caps.

Craig Fire Chief Roy Mason said residents must be aware of the current fire danger.

"The biggest thing is fire bans need to be abided by," Mason said. "Wildfires can be pretty devastating. State resources are already stretched thin. People need to be alert about the fire hazard."

Mason said people should pay particular attention to where cigarettes are discarded, and to possible sparks created from such activity as welding and grinding.

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