Fire danger high this weekend

Fire conditions will continue during the July Fourth weekend, despite forecasts for scattered showers and cloudy conditions, a fire management officer warns.

"There's always the chance the thunderstorms will be dry with lightning, and that carries the potential for fires," said Mike Rieser, fire management officer with the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit.

Northwest Colorado has been under a moderate fire danger.

But the drought conditions have weakened larger vegetation, drying it out so it will burn under the right conditions.

"We still need people to be careful with fires, some have started in what looked like green, lush grass," Rieser added.

"Conditions change quickly in Northwest Colorado and a few days of dry, warm, windy weather can put us back in the High Fire Danger Rating."

Reminders for enjoying the Fourth of July safely include:

n Check the area you plan to visit for fire restrictions -- fire restrictions are in place in Rio Blanco, Garfield, Pitkin, Eagle, Summit, and Mesa counties.

n Be aware of your surroundings, windy conditions, dry vegetation, etc.

n Fireworks are prohibited on public land.

n Use existing or established campfire rings.

n Clear the brush around campfire rings.

n Ensure campfires are "dead out" before leaving them, douse with water, stir the ashes and douse again.

n Always carry a shovel with you.

n Smoke in cleared areas.

n Avoid parking in tall, dry grass.

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