Fire restrictions go into effect Friday in Steamboat, Routt County |

Fire restrictions go into effect Friday in Steamboat, Routt County

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Fire restrictions were inevitable, and Stage 1 restrictions are expected to go into effect for Routt County on Friday.

Fire officials met Tuesday for their weekly fire season conference call.

“It really wasn’t a tough decision,” Routt County Emergency Management Director David “Mo” DeMorat said. “Everyone was expecting this. It was pretty unanimous.”

Routt County commissioners are expected to approve the restrictions Wednesday.

The U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and city of Steamboat Springs are also imposing Stage 1 restrictions.

“Huge bummer going into basically two holiday weekends since Fourth of July is on a Wednesday,” Forest Service spokesman Aaron Voos said. “Kind of bad timing, but that’s kind of where we’re at right now.”

Charcoal grills can still be used within the city of Steamboat, but Stage 1 restrictions prohibit campfires and charcoal grills except in designated campgrounds, picnic areas or developed recreation sites.

That means campfires cannot be built at the dispersed camping sites on Buffalo Pass. Those wanting a fire should camp at Dry Lake Campground.

Stage 1 restrictions also put limitations on smoking and chainsaws. Fireworks with a fuse are prohibited.

Campfires at private residences are allowed if the fire pit has been permitted by the fire protection district.

The Stage 1 restrictions will be in place for the entire Routt National Forest. The Medicine Bow National Forest is still not under any fire restrictions.

Hot, dry and windy conditions are expected through the week.

“We’re seeing red flag warnings almost every day in the afternoons,” Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue Chief Mel Stewart said.

Fire officials look at seven criteria, such as moisture in fuels, when determining whether to enact fire restrictions. Four of the seven criteria have been met.

“The major thing that changed were those fuel moistures,” Voos said.

It is still dry despite some rain the past two weekends. Last weekend, the official measuring station in Steamboat measured .24 inches of rain.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.

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