Hillside along Colorado Highway 13 south of Craig still smoldering | CraigDailyPress.com

Hillside along Colorado Highway 13 south of Craig still smoldering

The James Fire burns near Colowyo Coal.

CRAIG — A wildfire temporarily closed Colorado Highway 13 between Craig and Meeker on Saturday. The James Fire — located south of Colowyo Coal on Nine-Mile Pass in Rio Blanco County, continued to smolder Sunday after burning 324 acres of grass, oak brush, and pinyon-juniper trees.

The James Fire was one many blazes that flared up Friday and Saturday, as lightning producing thunderstorms passed through the area, bringing the tally of wildfires for the season to 183, as reported by Craig Interagency Dispatch Center. CIDC also reports having responded to 79 smoke checks and five false alarms as of 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 2.

Fire danger is moderate to high throughout the region. Rio Blanco, Mesa, and Garfield counties last week moved from Stage 2 to Stage 1 Fire Restrictions. Moffat County and the city of Craig remain under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions. These restrictions prohibit the following.

• Open burning, excepting fires and campfires within permanently constructed fire grates in developed campgrounds and picnic grounds, charcoal grills, and wood burning stoves at private residences in areas cleared of all flammable materials, and those other exceptions/exemptions as noted in Section 9 of Moffat County Ordinance 13-03.

• Using explosive materials, such as fireworks, blasting caps, tracer rounds, exploding targets, or any incendiary device which may result in the ignition of flammable material.

• Welding or operating an acetylene or other torches with an open flame, except within an area that is barren or cleared of all flammable material at least 10 feet on all sides from the equipment and possesses a chemical pressurized five-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.

• Outdoor smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

• Operating or using any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained, and in effective working order.

For more information, contact the Moffat County Sheriff's Office at 970-824-4495.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

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