Montrose, Colorado, June 29, 2021 – As our nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day, public land agencies encourage the public to be extra careful with campfires, where they are allowed and combustible materials to prevent human-caused fires. Western Colorado is experiencing historic drought conditions producing a high fire danger rating and lower fuel moisture measurements. Public land agencies ask the public to be extra careful as fire danger has steadily increased. Fire restrictions are in place for most public land agencies. Know before you go and check https://www.westslopefireinfo.com/ for local fire restriction information before you head out for the holiday weekend.
Summertime out on your public lands can be full of great memories if you practice the right safety measures. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Gunnison, Uncompahgre and Tres Rios Field Offices; Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC); West Region Wildfire Council (WRWC); National Park Service (NPS); Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area and the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests would like to provide a few helpful reminders and tips for best practices to help prevent wildfires while recreating on public lands over the holiday weekend.
Recreational users on public lands should keep a few things in mind that can help prevent an unintentional wildfire. To reduce wildfire risk, please consider the following:
- Practice proper vehicle maintenance, ensure that tow chains are secured, and vehicle has no dragging parts, check tire pressure and properly maintain your brakes. Even chains dragging along the ground, such as those on ATVs, can spark fires.
- Park vehicles/trailers and off-highway vehicles away from dry grass or brush.
- When target shooting, take a few simple precautions to 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, leave them at home.
- If you are camping in an area not currently in fire restrictions and build a fire outside a designated fire ring 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. 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 in a non-restricted area, 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.
Know Before You Go—Always check with local agencies and counties for the area you will be visiting to see what fire restrictions are in place. Know what is allowed and what isn’t. Please obey those restrictions. Local fire restriction information can be found online at: https://www.westslopefireinfo.com/.
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.
Keep yourself safe while recreating outdoors by checking the weather before you go, taking the appropriate equipment including maps, carrying enough water, letting someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back, and utilizing suggested or required safety equipment. Adhere to the Leave No Trace Principles of outdoor ethics to leave your public lands ready for the next visitors to enjoy.
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: https://www.blm.gov/office/uncompahgre-field-office
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: https://www.blm.gov/office/tres-rios-field-office
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: https://www.nps.gov/cure/index.htm
For more information on regulations for the GMUG please visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/gmug/home/?cid=STELPRDB5420083