Fire Ban Remains in Effect in Pitkin County Even Though Lifted in National Forest
Recent rains have prompted federal fire officials to modify the fire restrictions that have been in effect for the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit (UCR).
Effective Friday, July 20th, all fire restrictions on the White River National Forest will be rescinded. Federal lands managed by the BLM Colorado River and Grand Junction Field Offices remain under Stage II Fire Restrictions. As announced earlier, the Grand Mesa, Umcompahgre and Gunnison National Forests are currently under Stage I restrictions. This announcement applies only to federal lands within the UCR.
According to Bill Hahnenberg, Fire Management Officer for the UCR, “We have taken a careful look at the weather and fuel moisture date from weather stations across the UCR. This information indicates that we should lift the fire restrictions for the White River National Forest. However, the lower elevation areas remain very dry. The data supports keeping the areas managed by the BLM at Stage II restrictions at this time.”
Announcing the decision to lift all fire restrictions, Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said, “While there have been several large fires in Colorado this summer, we have not had any major fires caused by human activity. Fire management agencies to concentrate on responding to the many naturally caused widlfires. I urge the public to remain vigilant and be very careful with fires. While we feel current conditions allow us lift fire restrictions at this time, another period of dry weather could see an increase in fire danger. Should conditions warrant we could again implement fire restrictions across the White River.”
“The fire danger remains higher on BLM lands so we will keep the BLM areas in Stage II at this time,” Hahnenberg said. “These lands are generally lower in elevation than lands on the White River National Forest. We have not received rain consistently across the two field offices. Conditions on all federal lands within the UCR will continue to be monitored.”
Because of the differing conditions across the UCR, counties have taken different positions with regard to fire restrictions for non-federal lands. Fire restrictions remain in effect for Pitkin, Garfield, Eagle and Rio Blanco Counties. Fire restrictions have been lifted for Summit and Mesa Counties. The public is urged to contact the County Sheriff in the appropriate county for the most current information on fire restrictions for non-federal lands.Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2012