As camping season ramps up, Forest Service reminds Coloradans to never leave fires unattended

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) – As camping season begins in Colorado, so does the campaign by the U.S. Forest Service to educate and warn people of the dangers of unattended campfires.

In spite of the message from Smokey Bear we all know by heart, 87% of wildland fires are caused by humans.

“Anytime we have fires that are caused by decisions human beings make, that’s something we can try to help correct,” said Jonathan Ashford, a wildland firefighter.

Ashford remembers recent Colorado fires like Hayman, Waldo Canyon and Buffalo Creek — all of which were perpetrated by people.

“If you actually violate a fire restriction, it’s both a financial and criminal penalty,” said Ashford.

All this, says Ashford, is avoidable. Just know before you go.

“Know whether or not there are restrictions where you are planning to recreate. Know that you understand those guidelines and that it fits what you want to do when you’re out in Mother Nature,” said Ashford.

Ashford said fires must be 100% out before you leave the campsite or go to bed.

“You come up to enjoy Mother Nature and everything that Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region has to offer, leave it better than you found it,” said Ashford.

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