Routt County stays under Stage 1 fire restrictions during Labor Day weekend |

Routt County stays under Stage 1 fire restrictions during Labor Day weekend

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Routt County will remain under Stage 1 fire restrictions ahead of the Labor Day weekend.

On Tuesday, the Routt County Board of Commissioners considered rescinding fire restrictions in the county. Routt County Emergency Operations Director David “Mo” DeMorat recommended remaining in Stage 1 fire restrictions.

Currently, fire conditions across Routt County vary greatly. North Routt has seen little moisture, while South Routt has seen significant rainfall. These conditions have led to a difference in opinion between local fire chiefs as to whether the county should stay in Stage 1 restrictions.

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How to sign up for Routt County Alerts

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• Download the Everbridge app to smartphones. The app has an orange logo.

• Manually sign up by calling Routt County Communications at 970-870-5532.

“When the fire chiefs in the county are not unanimous, my tendency is to say, ‘Let’s stay where we are and meet again next week,’” Commissioner Cari Hermacinski said in the meeting.

Officials avoid lifting restrictions in only a portion of the county, because it makes it more difficult to enforce restrictions and for visitors and locals to determine whether they are under restrictions, DeMorat said.

The county considers seven scientific criteria when determining if it should alter fire restrictions. Typically, the county enters Stage 1 restrictions when four of these criteria are met. However, DeMorat said, decisions must involve more than just numbers.

Right now, the county is meeting two of these criteria, DeMorat said, but that number has been changing weekly.

Last week, Routt County met four of those conditions. The week before that it was two, and prior to that, it was four. DeMorat suggested that the commissioners lift the restrictions when this number stabilizes week to week.

“If we were purely just chasing the numbers, we would have had to change our fire restrictions three times in the last four weeks,” DeMorat said.

He said that would lead to confusion about what rules apply and an increased workload for county employees who would be changing fire restriction signs.

“We like to advise people to be careful, whether we have restrictions or not,” De Morat said.

He asked that people remain wary and smart in consideration of fires. He also recommended that residents sign up to receive emergency alerts through the county to be notified of important information should a fire occur in their area.

Stage 1 restrictions prohibit campfires except in designated campgrounds and developed sites. Cigarette smokers should smoke in a vehicle or building, at a developed campsite or while stopped in an area that is at least three feet wide and cleared of all flammable material. Chainsaws should have an approved muffler and should be used with a fire extinguisher and a shovel nearby. Use of explosives with a fuse is also prohibited, and there are restrictions on welding torches as well.

Community members can apply to their local fire protection district for a permit to operate fire pits and conduct otherwise restricted burns. To find out where to apply for a permit, contact Routt County Emergency Management at 970- 870-5551.

The Board of County Commissioners will discuss fire restrictions again at its Tuesday, Sept. 4 meeting.

To reach Eleanor Hasenbeck, call 970-871-4210, email or follow her on Twitter @elHasenbeck.

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