Fire restrictions lifted in Routt County, Steamboat
October 5, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Raincoats were back in style, and there was rejoicing Friday afternoon as steady rain fell and Routt County commissioners voted to lift all fire restrictions for the county.
The city of Steamboat Springs followed suit an hour later.
Stage 1 restrictions remain in place for the Routt National Forest, but those are expected to be lifted soon.
Commissioner Tim Corrigan arrived at 1 p.m. — right on time for the meeting — but commissioners Cari Hermacinski and Doug Monger had already cast their votes.
Corrigan was drenched. His car battery died on Walton Creek Road, and he walked two miles to the Routt County Courthouse and got caught in heavy rain.
"I've been out checking moisture conditions, and I think we're OK," Corrigan proclaimed when he walked in the room.
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During the meeting, Routt County Emergency Management Director David "Mo" DeMorat told the commissioners all area fire districts had recommended to lift restrictions immediately.
Routt County had been at Stage 2 restrictions, which prohibits all fires.
Commissioner Doug Monger said he was totally supportive of lifting restrictions.
"If we end up having a dry spell again, we can come back in (to restrictions) if we need to," Monger said.
Snow was beginning to accumulate on Rabbit Ears Pass and the top of Thunderhead at Steamboat Resort on Friday afternoon. The first recorded snowfall in Steamboat last year was Oct. 1.
Rain and snow is in the forecast through Tuesday.
Community weather observer reports viewable on the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network website showed variable rain totals for the 24-period ending Friday morning.
Clark was the big winner with .84 inches. Totals in the Steamboat area were between .03 inches and .35 inches.
"It's snowing," North Routt Fire Protection District Chief Mike Swinsick said. "It's not sticking, but it's snowing."
The Oak Creek area saw between .04 and .11 inches.
"We're all happy about it because the fire danger is going to go down considerably, but we can't take it for granted," Monger said.
Fire officials advise that residents can now use their fire pits, but they always need to be permitted by their local fire districts.
"If they had a current permit, they're able to have a campfire now," Swinsick said.