Routt County downgrades to Stage 1 fire restrictions
The Routt County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted unanimously to rescind Stage 2 fire restrictions and enact the lesser Stage 1 restrictions, effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.
Commissioners based the decision on current conditions, long-term weather forecasts and the heavy, dry fuel loading that creates a potential for uncontrollable fires. Each week, the county, along with federal, state and local partners throughout the region, discuss the factors that determine when restrictions are recommended or necessary.
The chief difference under the more restrictive Stage 2 order is that all open fires and campfires are prohibited, with the exception of petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns and heating devices that are underwriter approved.
Under Stage 1 restrictions, fires are allowed in designated campgrounds, picnic areas or developed recreational sites.
The following is also prohibited under Stage 1 restrictions on all private and state-owned lands outside of municipal boundaries:
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• Building, maintaining, attending or using any fire to burn trash, debris, fence rows, irrigation ditches or vegetation; any campfire, warming fire, or charcoal grill, except in designated campgrounds, picnic areas or developed recreational sites.
• Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreational site, or while stopped in an area of at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.
• Operating a chainsaw without a USDA- or SAE-approved spark arresting device properly installed and in effective working order, and a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher of not less than 8-ounce capacity by weight, and one round-pointed shovel with an overall length of at least 36 inches.
• Welding or operating acetylene or other torches with open flame, except within an area that is barren or cleared of all flammable material at least 10 feet on all sides from the equipment.
• Using explosives requiring fuses or blasting caps.
Anyone who violates the restrictions is said to commit a Class 2 petty offense, which is punishable by a fine of up to $600 for each separate offense. The fine increases with subsequent offenses.
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