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On Wednesday, June 19, the Bureau of Land Management will begin Stage One fire restrictions on its lands in Archuleta County — one of eight southwest Colorado counties to have restrictions imposed.
“While we are instituting Stage One restrictions on all BLM lands in the eight-county area, other agencies and the counties agencies are developing various restrictions based on their respective criteria,” said Connie Clementson, BLM Tres Rios Field Manager. “Therefore, we encourage the public to closely review routes and contact us if needed prior to enjoying their public lands.”
Stage One fire restrictions on public land managed by the BLM prohibit building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire except a fire within a permanent constructed fire grate in a developed campground. Also, smoking is prohibited on public land except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
The use of fireworks, flares or other incendiary devices is always prohibited on federal lands. Additionally, operating or using any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order is always prohibited.
The BLM continuously monitors the conditions throughout the area and will modify the restrictions as needed. Current weather patterns indicate a prolonged period of high temperatures, extremely low relative humidity and sustained high winds. Additionally, the weather and fuel conditions are similar to those during historic large fire events in the region.
Federal agencies use a three-stage process to limit activities that could cause wildfires during drought conditions. Stage One restricts the activities as indicated above. Stage Two includes all stage one restrictions, plus prohibits welding; the use of chainsaws; and building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire or stove fire. Stage Three prohibits all burning.
For more information, go to http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/district_offices/southwest.html. To determine fire restrictions beyond the BLM-administered lands in Colorado, go to http://www.coemergency.com/p/fire-bans-danger.html.