Stage 2 fire ban in town, county


Staff Writer

Archuleta County and the Town of Pagosa Springs have now joined neighboring agencies, instituting Stage 2 fire restrictions — commonly called a ban — at 12:01 a.m. on July 10.

Fire restrictions are now in place for all areas in Archuleta, Mineral and Hinsdale counties south of the Continental Divide for the private, tribal and county lands in Archuleta County, and all lands in the Town of Pagosa Springs.

Drew Petersen, director of emergency management for Archuleta County, said the step up in restrictions is based on the growth potential seen in fire starts such as the Cat Fire, and the lessening of available resources due to the reduction of resources assigned to the West Fork Fire Complex (see related article).

The Stage 2 restrictions will remain in effect until moisture allows fire officials to return to Stage 1 restrictions or lift all restrictions.

And it seems like monsoonal moisture might be on the horizon.

Petersen said the area is entering into a more moist weather pattern, but how much moisture that pattern delivers is the key to future fire restrictions.

Under the Stage 2 restrictions now in place for the county and town, prohibited are:

• Open burning.

• Campfires.

• Coal- or wood-burning stoves.

• Any type of charcoal grill.

• Burn barrels.

• Agricultural burning.

• Use of explosive materials.

• Use of fireworks of any kind.

• Any open fires.

Allowed are:

• Gas grills for barbecues at residences.

• Camp stoves, grills or lights fueled by bottled gas.

• Government-sponsored fireworks with the sheriff’s approval.

All fires shall be attended; you shall have at least five gallons of water and firefighting tools immediately available; and all fires shall be fully extinguished after use.

Smoking is limited to inside vehicles and buildings.

Internal combustion engines (chainsaws, generators, lawn mowers) must have spark arresters.

Cutting and welding operations must have:

• Fire hand tools and 40 pounds worth of fire extinguishers or a pressurized water supply immediately available.

• A person identified as a fire watch standing by continuously when an ignition of natural fuels is possible.

• Operations must be performed in an area that is free from vegetation for 20 feet.

Oil and Gas operations:

• Flaring for production wells is allowed, but a contact must be made to 911 dispatch.

• Compliance with the Rules for Fire Prevention and Protection must be met (Rule 606A).

Chainsaw and forestry operations must have:

• A pressurized fire extinguisher of eight ounces or more with the operator.

• A size 0 or larger round point shovel immediately available.

Although fire restrictions are similar, contact the agency with responsibility to get specific restrictions.