With red flag warnings in place, fire restrictions officially begin Friday in Steamboat, Routt County | SteamboatToday.com

With red flag warnings in place, fire restrictions officially begin Friday in Steamboat, Routt County

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It’s official.

Beginning Friday, Stage 1 fire restrictions will be in place in Routt County, Routt National Forest, land managed by the Bureau of Land Management as well as within the city of Steamboat Springs. Other municipalities are expected to follow.

"All the fire districts agree that was the recommended course of action," Routt County Emergency Management Director David "Mo" DeMorat said.

Routt County commissioners unanimously approved the fire restrictions Wednesday.

Routt County has met four of the seven criteria used to determine if fire restrictions should be put in place.

"I like to think that we do this scientifically," Commissioner Doug Monger said. "If we could educate our citizens to be smart and fire wise, that helps too."

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Charcoal grills are exempt from the restrictions within the city of Steamboat, but Stage 1 restrictions prohibit campfires and charcoal grills except in designated campgrounds, picnic areas or developed recreation sites.

That means campfires cannot be built at the dispersed camping sites on Buffalo Pass and other popular spots.

Stage 1 restrictions also put limitations on smoking and chainsaws. Fireworks with a fuse are prohibited. The restrictions also forbid the use of explosives.

"Not that I was planning on using any explosives," Commissioner Tim Corrigan said.

Residents should contact their fire districts to find out if they can burn in their permitted fire pits.

In the Steamboat district, Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue has permitted 241 fire pits. It costs $20 to get a permit, and the fire department will come and inspect it.

Chief Mel Stewart said people with a permitted fire pit in the Steamboat fire district are exempt from the Stage 1 restrictions.

Current weather is conducive to wildfires.

Temperatures in Steamboat on Wednesday were in the low 90s.
A red flag warning is in place from noon until 8 p.m. Thursday, and there is a fire weather watch from noon until 8 p.m. Friday.

Prohibited acts under U.S. Forest Service Stage 1 restrictions include:

• Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or stove fire. This includes barbecues, grills and portable braziers. Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire in constructed, permanent fire pits or fire grates within developed recreation sites and the use of portable stoves, lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum, pressurized liquid fuel or a fully enclosed (sheepherder type) stove with a ¼-inch spark arrester type screen is permitted.

• Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.

• Operating a chainsaw without a USDA or SAE-approved spark arrester properly installed and in effective working order, a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of 2A kept with the operator and one round point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches readily available for use.

• Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame except in cleared areas of at least 10 feet in diameter and in possession of a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of at least 2A.

• Using an explosive.

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