Montrose, Colorado, May 24, 2022 – As we celebrate Memorial Day and the start of summer, public land agencies encourage the public to be extra careful with all campfires and combustible materials to prevent human-caused fires.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Gunnison, Uncompahgre and Tres Rios Field Offices; Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC); National Park Service (NPS), Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area, West Region Wildfire Council (WRWC) and the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests would like to provide a few helpful tips and reminders for best practices to help prevent an unintentional wildfire while recreating and hunting on public lands this Memorial Day weekend.
To reduce wildfire risk, please consider the following:
- Practicing proper vehicle maintenance; ensuring that tow chains are secured and a vehicle has no dragging parts, check tire pressure and properly maintaining your brakes. Even chains dragging along the ground, such as those on ATVs, can spark fires.
- When target shooting, where allowed, taking a few simple precautions can prevent devastating results: place your target on dirt or gravel, switch to paper targets, avoid incendiary targets and exploding ammunition, bring a shovel and fire extinguisher, and report any fires by calling 911.
- Fireworks are never permitted on public lands.
- If you are camping and build a fire outside a designated fire ring where allowed, make sure you clear the area of debris including grasses and small vegetation. Clear your fire site perimeter approximately 10 feet in diameter and use rocks or a fire pan to contain your fire. Always keep a shovel and water nearby to extinguish the fire.
- Never leave a fire unattended and make sure that you completely put out your campfire before leaving your campsite. Practice the drown, stir, feel method when extinguishing your campfire. Use water or dirt to douse the fire, stir the ashes and if necessary, continue to add water or dirt until the fire is smothered.
- When smoking, always dispose of cigarette debris in an ashtray.
- Avoid driving and parking in tall grasses. Exhaust particles and hot exhaust pipes can start grass fires. Park your vehicles/trailers and off-highway vehicles away from dry grass or brush. Off road travel is never allowed in national parks.
Even an accidental fire start can result in the individual being held responsible including fines and/or jail time. Visit One Less Spark (http://www.readyforwildfire.org/Prevent-Wildfire/ ) for more great tips on how to prevent wildfire and be prepared for fire season. To learn more about campfire safety visit www.smokeybear.com.
Before heading outside, be sure to “Know Before You Go!” Helpful information about planning your trip can be found on the “Know Before You Go” webpage. Regulations vary between land management agencies, learn what is permitted before you use fire.
Adhere to the Leave No Trace Principles of outdoor ethics to leave your favorite spot ready for the next visitors to enjoy. Keep yourself safe while recreating outdoors by checking the weather before you go, taking the appropriate equipment including maps, carrying enough food and water, letting someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back, and utilizing suggested or required safety equipment.
Local fire restriction information can be found online at: https://www.westslopefireinfo.com/.
For more information on regulations for DFPC please visit: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dfpc
For more information on regulations for the BLM-Uncompahgre Field Office please visit:
For more information on West Region Wildfire Council please visit: http://www.cowildfire.org/
For more information on regulations for the BLM-Tres Rios Field Office please visit:
For more information on regulations for the NPS, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park please visit: https://www.nps.gov/blca/index.htm
For more information on regulations for the Curecanti National Recreation Area please visit:
For more information on regulations for the GMUG please visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/gmug