Rio Blanco County enacts fire ban |

Rio Blanco County enacts fire ban

Stephanie Bondy

Because of a lack of precipitation and extremely dry conditions, a countywide fire ban was issued on July 14 in order to reduce the danger of wildfires.

Rio Blanco County Sheriff Si Woodruff said fires were noted on Yankee Gulch and near Carr Creek last week. Fire bans already were in place in Mesa and Garfield counties and, after consultation with the Bureau of Land Management, he felt the fire danger to be high in the west end of Rio Blanco County.

The fire ban includes all unincorporated areas of the county lying west of Colorado Highway 13.

Liz Turner, office manager of the federal Forrest Service, said when they look into a fire ban ordinance, they consider the temperatures and monitor the fuel conditions, as well as the moisture level.

Turner said the fire danger did not come as early this year because of a wet spring.

She said people who are vacationing could still have fires in designated recreational sites. If camping in the backcountry, they are able to use propane

stoves and lanterns.

“But we ask people to be a little more cautious,” Turner said.

Smokers are able to smoke only in enclosed vehicles or buildings, unless they are stopped in an area that has been cleared of all flammable material in a three-foot diameter, according to the ordinance.

Turner wants to remind individuals that it is also required for any chain saw to have a spark arrestor.

The fire ban will stay in effect until fire conditions change and the danger is over.

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