Burn occurred out of season
Steamboat Springs — In the Steamboat Springs Fire Protection District, there is a season for burning, and this is not it.
On Tuesday, the owners of a home near the base of Thorpe Mountain were trying to do the right thing by creating a defensible space from wildfires.
They had cleared overgrown vegetation and were burning the debris. But later in the afternoon, the burn grew out of control, and firefighters were called to protect nearby homes and contain the fire.
The homeowners had called Routt County Communications to inform them of the burn, but Steamboat Springs Fire Marshal Doug Shaffer said Wednesday the burn should not have taken place.
Unlike agriculture burns, there are strict rules for when other burns can take place. In the Steamboat Springs Fire Protection District, the burns are only allowed from Nov. 1 to April 15 when there is at least six inches of snow on the ground.
Shaffer said they established a burn season because the resources were not available to issue permits. While residents no longer need a permit from the fire district, they still need one from the Routt County Department of Environmental Health. This is to ensure the burns take place on days that will have the least impact on air quality.
Shaffer said residents who want to conduct a burn should contact both their local fire district and Routt County Communications before conducting a burn.
The rules can vary by fire district.
In the Oak Creek Fire Protection District, there is no burn season, and burn permits are still issued.
“Right now, I won’t let them burn, because it’s too dry,” Oak Creek Chief Chuck Wisecup said.
More information on the rules for burning are available on the Routt County Department of Environmental Health website.
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Sherry Burlingame never imagined herself as a chief of police.