Forest Service closes sites, implements fire restrictions
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 10:50 a.m., Friday, April 10, to indicate that some camp stoves are still allowed under the fire restrictions.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Rocky Mountain Region of the Forest Service is temporarily closing all developed recreation sites and implementing fire restrictions to align with state and federal orders, according to a news release on Wednesday, April 7, from Acting Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien.
Developed recreation sites such as campgrounds, picnic areas and any constructed facilities such as water stations, restrooms or trash cans, are closed. Parking lots and trailheads are open, while hiking, river usage and dispersed camping are still allowed.
Visitors should stay local to access national forests and grasslands, and follow social distancing guidelines.
- Stay close to home to keep other communities safe.
- Stay 6 feet apart from others.
- Avoid crowding in parking lots, trails, scenic overlooks and other areas.
- Take CDC precautions to prevent illnesses like COVID-19.
- Prepare for limited or no services, such as restroom facilities and garbage collection.
- Prepare to pack out trash and human waste.
The region, which includes 24 national forests and grasslands across Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming, is also putting fire restrictions in place, effective immediately. It is prohibited to ignite or use a fire, including grills, and stoves. It is also prohibited to smoke on national land, unless it is within an enclosed car or building.
Any pressurized liquid or gas stoves, grills or lanterns are permitted, so long as they have a shut-off valve and are at least three feet away from any flammable materials.
Note that these changes are region wide. While the valleys in the Rocky Mountains are in the midst of mud season, the dryer grasslands of Kansas and South Dakota are already nearing fire season. These restrictions will ideally keep responders from unnecessary risk.
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