Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, BLM, and fire districts in Garfield County
GARFIELD COUNTY, CO. – 7.18.23, 9:23 p.m.
STAGE I FIRE RESTRICTIONS BEGIN JULY 21, 2023
Garfield County, CO, The Garfield County Sheriff, BLM and the seven fire districts in Garfield County are implementing Stage 1 Fire Restrictions effective at 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 21, 2023. This applies to all of unincorporated Garfield County.
This decision was made with thoughtful consideration. We look at the data, the potential for significant wildfires and balance it with the impacts to our community. Our concern with the level of fire danger we are seeing is that one spark could quickly spread into a dangerous wildfire threatening lives, property and natural resources.
Fire restrictions are implemented based on specific criteria to include moisture content of vegetation, weather outlooks, human risk factors and firefighting resource availability. It’s been hot, dry, and unseasonably windy. So far this year, we’ve had 12 Red Flag Warnings, which is more than what we typically see over an entire year. The National Weather Service is forecasting above average temperatures and dry conditions with no relief from rain anytime soon.
With increasingly dry vegetation, severe drought conditions, and more hot and dry conditions approaching, the danger for human-caused wildfires increases even more.
WHAT STAGE I FIRE RESTRICTIONS MEAN IN GARFIELD COUNTY
Fireworks are not allowed under Stage I Fire Restrictions. Professional fireworks shows may be allowed through the permitting process.
All burn permits are postponed/canceled until further notice.
Campfires are only allowed within designated fire grates in Developed Areas (i.e. a permanent in-ground containment structure or store-bought fire pit) A temporary fire pan and rock campfire rings will not be acceptable.
No fires of any type including charcoal in Undeveloped Areas.
No smoking except within a designated area, enclosed vehicle or building, a developed area or in an area free of combustibles.
No use of fireworks or explosive materials, including “exploding” targets or bullets and tracer rounds.
Exercise common sense and industry safety practices when welding or operation of an acetylene or other similar torch with open flame always cleared safe area of vegetation and combustibles.
Causing a fire during fire restrictions can be a class 6 felony and can be punishable by fines. Other possible charges include Fourth Degree Arson (M2) and Intentionally Setting a Wildfire (F3). You may also be held financially responsible for damage caused.
The use of fireworks, flares, or other incendiary devices, including exploding targets, are always prohibited on federal lands.
A “Developed Area” is an area, whether within city limits or rural, that is groomed, manicured and or watered, where grasses, brush and trees are regularly attended to by land owner. This includes residential and business areas, improved recreational areas, parks and other common areas.
“Undeveloped Areas” are lands that are not groomed, manicured, or watered, where grasses, brush and trees have been allowed to grow in a natural environment. This includes green belts that are not landscaped or manicured, open space lands, non-manicured park lands, and other areas where the fire hazard presented by the vegetation is determined by the authority having jurisdiction or designee to be an undue wildland fire hazard.
STAGE 2 FIRE RESTRICTIONS BEGIN IN GARFIELD COUNTY FRIDAY JUNE 25, 2021 at 12:01 AM
Garfield County, CO, The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, BLM lands in Garfield County, Forest Service lands in Garfield and the seven Fire Districts in Garfield County are implementing Stage 2 Fire Restrictions effective at 12:01 a.m. Friday, June 25, 2021. This applies to all of unincorporated Garfield County.
This decision was made with thoughtful consideration. We look at the data as well as the potential for significant wildfires and balance it with the impacts to our community. The current active wildfires in Garfield County have already stretched our available resources and effected our ability to respond as necessary.
Fire restrictions are implemented based on specific criteria to including moisture content of vegetation, weather outlooks, human risk factors and firefighting resource availability.
With increasingly dry vegetation, severe drought conditions, and Fourth of July celebrations approaching, the danger for human caused wildfires increases even more.
WHAT STAGE 2 FIRE RESTRICTIONS MEAN IN GARFIELD COUNTY
Use of fireworks – Not permitted
Burn Permits (General) – No Burn Permits will be issued. All previously-issued burn permits are cancelled.
Cooking Fires – Use caution and keep attended. Cooking devices must be clean (including gas cylinder) and in proper working order.
Gas Grills – No permit required.
Charcoal and other Solid Fuel Grills & Cookers – No permit required in Developed Areas only.
In Undeveloped Areas, a permit from the local fire department may be required.
Smoking – Open Smoking allowed in Developed Areas.
In Undeveloped Areas, allowed only in an enclosed vehicle or building.
Welding and Spark-emitting cutting (Hot Work) – Developed area: Use extreme caution and take preventative measures as necessary.
Undeveloped area: Industrial use only. A permit from the local fire department may be required. Must be in a cleared area at least 10 feet in diameter with a designated lookout. Must have Class A fire extinguishing capabilities readily available.
Operating of internal combustion engine-powered equipment such as Chain Saws, hand-held tools, or generators without a spark-arresting device is prohibited. If described equipment does have a spark arresting device, you must have Class A fire extinguishing capabilities readily available, and round-point shovel (36″ length minimum) shall be readily available for use.
Other internal combustion engine-powered equipment, such as tractors and mowers: Operate with extreme caution paying special attention in areas subject to extreme conditions that may be susceptible to ignition (dry weeds and grasses, etc.).
Use of explosives, explosive targets and steel or tracer bullets – Not permitted
Use of firearms – Steel jacket/core bullets (Armor Piercing) and tracer bullets are expressly prohibited. It is the responsibility of each independent range to ensure safe fire conditions at all times the range is in use. This includes: mitigating fuels that may potentially catch fire; monitoring downrange conditions/impacts; maintaining the ability to access and rapidly extinguish fires; notifying the local fire department immediately in the event of a fire of any size. Keeping a usable fire-extinguishing application method on hand is strongly recommended.
If shooting at an unattended range – including those on public and private property – the responsibility for ensuring safe fire conditions falls on the independent shooter.
A “Developed Area” is an area, whether within city limits or rural, that is groomed, manicured and or watered, where grasses, brush and trees are regularly attended to by landowner. This includes residential and business areas, improved recreational areas, parks and other common areas.
“Undeveloped Areas” are lands that are not groomed, manicured, or watered; where grasses, brush and trees have been allowed to grow in a natural environment. This includes green belts that are not landscaped or manicured, open space lands, non-manicured parklands, and other areas where the fire hazard presented by the vegetation is determined by the authority having jurisdiction or designee to be an undue wildland fire hazard.
CRAIG, Colo. – Stage 2 fire restrictions begin Friday, June 25 at 12:01 a.m. for Bureau of Land Management (BLM) administered lands in Grand, Eagle, Summit, Routt, Moffat, Garfield and Rio Blanco counties along with lands within the Kremmling, White River, and Little Snake Field Offices.
Recent hot and windy conditions across northwest Colorado have dried out fuels providing optimal conditions for wildfires. Fire crews have been busy in recent days engaging the Oil Springs Fire in Rio Blanco County estimated at 11,993 acres 20 miles south of Rangely; the West Fire in northwest Moffat County estimated at 3,100 acres 80 miles northwest of Craig, and the Muddy Slide Fire in Routt County estimated at 4,000 acres 18 miles west of Kremmling.
Based on these recent conditions, officials decided to implement stage 2 fire restrictions beginning June 25. The BLM is enforcing the following temporary restrictions on all BLM public lands under stage 2 fire restrictions until further notice: •No building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire, charcoal grill, coal, wood burning stove, or sheepherders’ stove, including in developed camping and picnic grounds. Devices using pressurized liquid or gas are exempted. •No smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, trailer, building, or tent. •Using an explosive requiring fuse or blasting caps, fireworks, rockets, exploding targets and tracers, or incendiary ammunition. •No operating or using any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained, and in effective working order meeting either: Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Standard 5100-1a; or 8 Appropriate Society of automotive Engineers (SAE) recommended practice J335(b) and J350(a). 36 CFR 261.52(j). •No operating a chainsaw without an approved spark arrestor, and without a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher, and a round-point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches. The extinguisher will be with the equipment operator. The shovel may be kept with fueling supplies but readily available for use. •No welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame (except with a current permit, contract, or letter of authorization).
These new stage 2 fire restrictions will be in conjunction with restrictions that begin this week in other northwest Colorado locations including White River National Forest, Dinosaur National Monument, and Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge.
Garfield County, Colo. – Crews on the Wild Cow Fire have brought the 560-acre fire to 100% containment as of this evening.
The Wild Cow Fire is burning about 33 miles north of Mack, CO on BLM land. Many of the crews have been reassigned to other fires burning in the area that need resources, though an engine and crew, a fuels module, and a Type 2 helicopter will stay with this fire.
“This was definitely a team effort, “ said Incident Commander Ross Wilmore. “When we began managing this fire, it was a challenging fire due to the terrain and the weather conditions. We received a lot of support from regional fire managers, which allowed us to catch the fire and keep it from growing any larger.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but lightning is suspected. The Upper Colorado River Type 3 Incident Management Team (IMT) is returning the management of the fire to local fire management staff on Wednesday, June 30.
This will be the last update on this fire unless the situation changes.
UPDATE 6-27-21, 5:30 pm
Garfield County, Colo. – Due to line work by firefighters and continued moderate temperatures and higher humidity, containment on the Wild Cow Fire has increased to 73%. A direct perimeter strategy has held the fire, located about 33 miles north of Mack, CO, at 560 acres.
Crew continued work to safely contain the head of the fire. Firefighters continued to concentrate their efforts on cutting fuels to create new containment lines, prep a contingency line, strengthening the established fire line, and protect structures in the area. A Type 2 helicopter is also on scene serving as a water bucket and medivac aircraft. Because of increased containment, some of the resources on this fire will begin to be reallocated to other wildfires in the region starting Monday.
“We are making good progress containing this fire,” said Incident Commander Ross Wilmore. “With the hard work of our crews on scene, we anticipate full containment in the next few days.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but lightning is suspected. The Upper Colorado River Type 3 Incident Management Team (IMT) is managing the suppression of this fire. Expected increased traffic from fire engines and personnel in the Fruita and Loma area.
Garfield County, Colo. – Continued favorable weather and work by firefighters has helped increase containment of the Wild Cow Fire to 57%. Suppression actions have continued to hold the fire, located about 33 miles north of Mack, CO, at 560 acres.
Engine crews, smoke jumpers, hotshots, a Forest Service fuels module (a crew specifically focused on fuels reduction), and contract hand crews continued work to safely contain the head of the fire. Firefighters have continued to concentrate their efforts on cutting fuels to create new containment lines, prep a contingency line, strengthening the established fire line, and protect structures in the area. A Type 2 helicopter is also on scene serving as a water bucket and medivac aircraft.
“We are focusing on a direct perimeter strategy to fight this wildland fire,” said Incident Commander Ross Wilmore. “With the lack of rain on the fire today, and fuels drying out again, we believe this is the best strategy at this time.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but lightning is suspected. The Upper Colorado River Type 3 Incident Management Team (IMT) is managing the suppression of this fire. Expected increased traffic from fire engines and personnel in the Fruita and Loma area.
Garfield County, Colo. — Favorable weather has helped crews contain 52% of the Wild Cow Fire perimeter. Suppression actions, assisted by high humidity, cloud cover, and rain showers, held the fire, located about 33 miles north of Mack, CO, at 560 acres.
Today, engine crews, smoke jumpers, hotshots, and contract hand crews are cutting fuels to create new fire line, strengthen the established fire line, prepare a contingency line, and protect structures in the area. A Type 2 helicopter is also on scene serving as a water bucket and medivac aircraft.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but lightning is suspected. The Upper Colorado River Type 3 Incident Management Team (IMT) is managing the suppression of this fire. Expect increased traffic from fire engines and personnel in the Fruita and Loma areas. Highway 139 is closed to the public, and is expected to stay closed through at least Saturday, due to the Oil Springs fire in Rio Blanco County, Colo.
UPDATE 6-23-21, 4:30 pm Garfield County, Colo. — Today, firefighters are working to create a perimeter around the fire using Large Air Tankers (LATs) and a Very Large Airtanker (VLAT). Engine crews, smoke jumpers, and a hotshot crew are cutting fuels to strengthen current fire lines as well as protect structures in the area.
The fire is currently estimated at 553 acres with moderate fire activity due to cloud cover and higher humidity. Currently there is no estimated time for fire containment and the cause of the fire remains under investigation; however, lightning is suspected. The Upper Colorado River Type 3 Incident Management Team (IMT) will assume command of the fire tonight (6/23) at 6:30 p.m. Be aware that fire engine and fire personnel traffic in the Fruita and Loma area, as well as on Highway 139, will be increased.
UPDATE 6-22-21, 2:29 pm #WildCowFire Update as of 3 pm June 22: Wild Cow fire located to the south of Baxter Pass in Garfield County is estimated at 248 acres with high fire activity. Active suppression operations are occurring with current resources and extra air tankers. The UCR Type 3 Team has been ordered and are expected to transition tonight. #FireYear2021#UCRFire
#WildCowFire Update as of 11 am June 22: The fire has grown to an estimated 90 acres with active fire behavior. Ground resources and aircraft are working to establish line around the fire; a Type 1 helicopter and two Type 2 IA crews have been ordered. #FireYear2021#UCRFire
Bureau of Land Management
#WildCowFire located near Baxter Pass in Garfield County is burning in pinyon and juniper, and estimated at 20 acres. Engine crews, BLM smoke jumpers and a heavy air tanker are working to contain the fire.
June 21, 10 a.m. – #BrushCreekFire located near Brush Mountain on Douglas Pass is estimated at 10 acres and putting up lots of smoke, but not making any active runs at this time. Two engine crews and three modules are working to contain the fire. Estimated containment is tomorrow (6/22).
Pitkin County alert 6-21-21 9:00 a.m. As of 6:30 a.m., the upper Frying Pan from the dam to Hagerman Pass is under pre-evacuation notice, due to the Sylvan Fire. An evacuation center is set up at the Basalt High School (600 Southside Drive). If you choose to evacuate and need resources, please go to the Basalt High School. More information is available at ecemo.org, or follow your local media and social media for updates.
White River National Forest: Sylvan Fire June 20, 2021 8:59 p.m.
EAGLE, Colo. — Sixty firefighters, four single-engine air-tankers and a light helicopter worked the 180-acre Sylvan Fire 12 miles south of Eagle, Colo. today.
The fire is burning in timber on the White River National Forest about half a mile from Sylvan Lake State Park. Firefighters reported extreme fire behavior, as strong winds pushed the fire to the south and southeast.
The fire was reported about 3:15 p.m. today. The cause is currently unknown and under investigation.
Campers and others recreating in Sylvan Lake State Park and much of the surrounding lands have been evacuated. Much of the area in the vicinity of the fire has been closed, including Sylvan Lake State Park. Firefighters have taken steps to protect structures at the state park. Other infrastructure at risk includes a major power line in the burn area.
White River National Forest: Sylvan Fire update June 20, 2021 6 p.m.
Federal and local firefighters are on-scene of the Sylvan Fire burning about ½-mile west of Sylvan Lake State Park in Eagle County. The fire is estimated at 90 acres and growing in lodgepole pine and other timber on the White River National Forest. It is being pushed by high winds and firefighters are reporting extreme fire behavior.
Additional ground crews and aerial resources have been ordered. Campers and others recreating in Sylvan Lake State Park and much of the surrounding lands have been evacuated. Crews are working on structure protection preparation work in Sylvan Lake State Park. There is a major transmission line in the fire area.
The cause is unknown. More information will be shared when it becomes available.
CDPHE: Air Quality Health Advisory for wildfire smoke
Issued forMoffat, Rio Blanco, Garfield, Routt, and Eagle counties
Issued at 6:30 PM MDT, Sunday, June 20, 2021
Issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Affected area: Moffat, Rio Blanco, Garfield, Routt, and Eagle Counties. Locations include, but are not limited to Craig, Meeker, Rifle, Glenwood Springs, Steamboat Springs, Eagle, and Vail.
Advisory in effect: 6:30 PM MDT, Sunday, June 20, 2021 to 9:00 AM MDT, Monday, June 21, 2021.
Public health recommendations: If smoke is thick or becomes thick in your neighborhood you may want to remain indoors. This is especially true for those with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young, and the elderly. Consider limiting outdoor activity when moderate to heavy smoke is present. Consider relocating temporarily if smoke is present indoors and is making you ill. If visibility is less than 5 miles in smoke in your neighborhood, smoke has reached levels that are unhealthy.
Outlook: Areas of moderate to heavy smoke have been observed across the advisory area Saturday evening due to smoke transported from both in-state and out-of-state wildfires. Smoke will likely linger overnight as the winds turn calm, particularly in valley locations.
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT in Garfield County – Crews from the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management, along with support from local agencies and departments, are currently engaging in suppression efforts on multiple fires along the Interstate-70 corridor and near Highway 82. Multiple engines, crews, and aircraft are making good progress on the fires.
The largest fire is the Smith Gulch Fire, an estimated 5 acres just NE of De Beque, and is visible from I-70. There were multiple lightning strikes throughout the area late yesterday, but the cause for each fire will be determined after investigation. More information will be posted as soon as available.
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. – All lands managed by the White River National Forest and lands in Eagle, Garfield, and Pitkin counties managed by the Bureau of Land Management will be under stage 1 fire restrictions beginning Friday, June 18.
Unincorporated private lands in Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties enter Fire Restrictions June 16. Unincorporated private lands in Eagle, Garfield, and Summit counties will also enter fire restrictions on June 18.
Under stage 1 restrictions:
campfires are only allowed within designated fire grates in developed campgrounds (i.e. a metal, in-ground containment structure — fire pans and rock campfire rings are not acceptable)
no fires of any type including charcoal outside of developed areas
no smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or in a barren area free of vegetation
no use of explosive materials, including explosive targets
no welding or operation of an acetylene or other similar torch with open flame except from an area that has been cleared of vegetation
no operation of any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed and in working order
Although conditions vary across the area, a longer-term drying trend is expected.
“Fire restrictions are prudent at this time considering the long-range forecast, fuel moisture conditions on the ground, and the continued high public visitation,” said White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams.
“As conditions dry, we are seeing more human-caused fire starts across multiple jurisdictions,” said BLM Colorado River Valley Field Manager Larry Sandoval. “In developed areas where campfires are permitted, please ensure your fire is completely out and cold before leaving. Please remember that fireworks are not allowed on Federal land.”
Officials consider a number of criteria when determining the need for fire restrictions, including current and anticipated fire danger, resource availability, and consistency with neighboring jurisdictions. Local, county, state and federal officials within the UCR area evaluate and coordinate fire restrictions weekly during fire season.
For more information about the White River National Forest, call 970 945-2521 or visit www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver. For more information about the BLM, call 970 876-9000 or visit www.blm.gov.
CRAIG, Colo. – The Little Snake and White River Field Offices will rescind fire restrictions on BLMmanaged lands in Moffat County on Friday, November 6 at 12:01 a.m. BLM public lands in Grand, Jackson, Larimer, and Summit Counties remain in Stage 2 fire restrictions.
“The recent cooler weather and increased moisture have reduced the threat of extreme fire behavior in Moffat County,” said Little Snake Field Manager Bruce Sillitoe. “However, fuels remain extremely dry, and several large fires in northern Colorado are still burning. As always, we need visitors to be sure to use fire only where allowed and have plenty of water on hand to douse them before leaving.”
Stage 2 fire restrictions prohibit the following activities:
Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire 36 CFR 261.52(a). This includes charcoal grills and barbecues, coal and wood burning stoves and sheepherders’ stoves and includes use in developed camping and picnic grounds. EXCEPT: Devices using pressurized liquid or gas (stoves, grills, or lanterns) that include shut-off valves are permitted when used in an area at least three feet or more from flammable material such as grasses or pine needles.
Smoking. 36 CFR 261.52(c) EXCEPT: Within enclosed vehicle, trailer, or building.
Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame. 36 CFR 261.52(i).
Operating or using any internal combustion engine (e.g. chainsaw, generator, ATV) without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order meeting either: (a) Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Standard 5100-1a; or (b) Appropriate Society of automotive Engineers (SAE) recommended practice J335(b) and J350(a). 36 CFR 261.52(j)
Operating a chainsaw without an approved spark arresting device as described in Prohibition #4, a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher (8 oz. capacity by weight or larger and kept with the operator) and a round point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches readily available for use. 36 CFR 261.52(h).
Using an explosive. 36 CFR 261.52(b). This includes but is not limited to fuses or blasting caps, fireworks, rockets, exploding targets, and tracers or incendiary. must be in the physical possession of the person or persons undertaking the exempted activities. 2. Any federal, state, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of an official duty is exempt from Prohibitions #1, #3, #4 and #5.
Possessing or using a motor vehicle off established roads, motorized trails or established parking areas, except when parking in an area devoid or vegetation within 10 feet of the vehicle. 36 CFR 261.52 Fire restrictions will be in place until further notice. In addition to criminal penalties, those found responsible for starting wildfires may also face restitution costs of suppressing the fire. BLM fire restriction orders and maps of restriction areas are available at Northwest District Fire Restrictions page. A full description of fire restriction stages 1 and 2 is available from the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center.
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – With much of western Colorado experiencing extreme to exceptional drought, Stage 1 fire restrictions remain in effect on BLM public lands in the Colorado River Valley, Grand Junction, Kremmling, and White River Field Offices, along with Eagle, Garfield, Mesa, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, and Summit counties.
“Extended drought conditions have created extremely dry fuels. Any small ignition is at high risk of growing very large, very quickly,” said Grand Junction Field Manager Greg Wolfgang. “We absolutely need people to comply with fire restrictions.”
“With the unprecedented conditions that are driving the current fires on the Front Range and increased visitation by hunters, we want to emphasize the importance of everyone thinking differently than we normally do this time of year,” said Colorado River Valley Field Manager, Larry Sandoval. “Any fire could have the same results of what we are seeing on the Front Range.”
Visitors to public lands should know that they could be held financially liable for suppression costs associated with any fire for which they are determined to be responsible.
Both the public and fire personnel are reporting frequent illegal and unattended campfires, extinguishing about one human-caused wildfire per day. Stage 1 fire restrictions only allow campfires in designated, agency-provided grates within developed recreation sites. Where fires are allowed, they must be completely extinguished with plenty of water until they are cool to the touch before leaving them.