Recent rainfall calms Silver Creek Fire, could help eliminate fire ban |

Recent rainfall calms Silver Creek Fire, could help eliminate fire ban

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Last week, county officials considered putting in place additional fire restrictions, and now the conversation has shifted to lifting the ban completely.

“Before we got this rain, it was, ‘Keep the bans in place,’” Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said.

Weather observers in the Steamboat area reported receiving about three-quarters of an inch of rain from Friday to Tuesday morning, when a storm brought heavy rain to the area and western Routt County was under a flash flood watch.

The recent moisture has helped cool the Silver Creek Fire southeast of Steamboat Springs.

Routt County remains under Stage 1 fire restrictions, which prohibit campfires unless they are in authorized fire pits.

The commissioners met Tuesday to discuss the ban after Routt County Emergency Management Director David “Mo” DeMorat met with local fire chiefs.

“Everyone wanted to stay in Stage 1 other than Oak Creek,” Monger said, adding that Oak Creek was fine with lifting the ban because of the amount of rain they have received. “North Routt is still very concerned because they haven’t had as much rain.”

Officials use seven criteria, such as the amount of moisture in fuels, to help them decide whether to put fire restrictions in place. DeMorat said that as of Tuesday morning, Routt County was still meeting four of the criteria.

“Hopefully, we’re in a little wet stage,” Monger said, looking out the window as rain fell during the lunch hour.

Monger said they can meet quickly with a day’s notice if they want to remove bans.

“We need to work in conjunction with all our partners,” he said.

Monger praised local residents for being cautious during an active fire season in Colorado.

“I think, yeah, we maybe dodged a bullet,” Monger said. “The responsible citizens have been more aware (about fire danger). The rain will help clear out the smoke, too.”

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

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