DENVER — Several cities and counties across Colorado have issued Stage I fire restrictions just days ahead of the July 4 holiday.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, fire restrictions come in different stages and become more prohibitive with each stage.
Most forests begin by implementing a Stage I restriction and if conditions worsen, Stage II is implemented.
There is no Stage III when conditions worsen further. Instead, a forest closure is usually the next step.
All burning is prohibited. This includes backyard fire pits, chimineas, and outside fire places.
Ban on all open fires and open burning within the county.
Castle Rock/Douglas County
A Stage I fire restriction has been enacted. People found to be in violation of the fire restrictions are subject to punishment of a $1,000 fine, 180 days in jail or both.
Stage I fire restrictions went into effect Friday morning for all of Boulder County. They are in place until Oct. 1 or rescinded, whichever is first.
The Jefferson County sheriff has implemented temporary Stage I fire restrictions. The restrictions apply to the areas west of Highway 93, west of C-470, and south and west of the intersection of Wadsworth Boulevard and C-470 to the Platte River.
La Plata County
Stage I restrictions affect unincorporated private land and state land areas in La Plata County. A violation of the fire restrictions constitutes a Class 2 petty offense punishable by a fine of up to $300 for each violation.
Stage I fire restrictions began in Garfield County for unincorporated private lands and Bureau of Land Management-administered lands.
Violation of federal fire restrictions is punishable by a fine of not more than $100,000 or imprisonment for not more than 12 months or both.
Those found responsible for starting wildfires will also face restitution costs of suppressing the fire.
Stage I fire restrictions have been enacted. Causing or allowing a fire during fire restrictions can be a Class 6 felony and can be punishable by fines up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment up to 18 months.
Other possible charges include fourth degree arson and intentionally setting a wildfire.
Open fires (including campfires and bonfires) are prohibited. Use and sale of fireworks are also prohibited.
Stage I fire restrictions prohibit:
- Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire. This includes charcoal barbecues and grills.
Exemption: 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 quarter-inch spark arrester type screen is permitted.
- Smoking, except in 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 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.
- Using an explosive.