Moffat County enters fire restrictions
Daily Pres staff writer
Stage I Fire Restrictions are now in place throughout Moffat County as of Wednesday as summer weather continues to heat up and dry out the region.
The decision, recommended by Sheriff KC Hume to Moffat County Commissioners Tuesday, means open fires are now banned in unincorporated Moffat County except in permanently constructed fire grates in developed campgrounds and picnic grounds.
Recent changes in weather indices in the past week finally tipped the decision.
“We currently have five of the indices that indicate Stage I Fire Restrictions are appropriate at this time,” Hume told commissioners. When Hume last met with neighboring county, state and federal officials on “July 3, most of the cooperators were right there on the edge. All of the indices, based off weather conditions, fuel moistures and a host of other aspects were right on the edge.”
According to Moffat County ordinance, Stage I Fire Restrictions include any outdoor fire including campfires, warming fires, charcoal grill fires, fires in wood-burning stoves, explosives, outdoor welding and acetylene or other torches with open flames “other than in an area cleared of all flammable materials.”
Fireworks and prescribed burning of fence lines or rows, fields, farmlands, rangelands, trash and debris are also banned.
Additionally, smoking outdoors is not allowed “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.”
The ordinance allows for charcoal grills and wood-burning stoves at private residences in areas cleared of all flammable materials.
For those at work outdoors, welding or operating acetylene torches or other open flames are allowed only in areas that are “barren or cleared of all flammable material at least 10 feet on all sides from the equipment and possess 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,” according to the ordinance.
Finally, “operating or using any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order” is prohibited.
The restrictions affect all public, private, state and applicable federal lands.
Rio Blanco, Summit and Eagle counties enacted Stage I Fire Restrictions Friday, including White River National Forest, which extends slightly into Moffat County.
For full details of the fire restrictions and exemptions specified in the ordinance, contact the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office.
A pair of Panther opponents dealt a tricky couple games to Moffat County High School baseball players while the Bulldogs were on the road.