FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
County Entering Stage 1 Fire Restrictions
Contact: Susan Lilly, Public Information Officer email@example.com
June 30, 2020 -- (San Miguel County, CO) – Unincorporated San Miguel County, by order of the Sheriff, will enter Stage 1 fire restrictions effective at 12:01 AM Thursday, July 2, 2020.
Stage 1 restrictions are put into place when there is an increasing fire danger based on a number of metrics and procedures. Stage 1 includes relatively minor restrictions aimed at preventing wildfires from human activities that are known to be high risk, specifically smoking and campfires.
Stage 1 prohibits:
1. Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or stove fire except within a permanent constructed fire grate in a developed campground, developed recreation site or improved site.
2. Smoking except while in an enclosed vehicle or building, in a developed campsite, or while stopped in an outdoor space free of debris.
3. Operating any internal or external combustion engine without a functioning spark-arresting device.
4. Using fireworks, except for “permissible fireworks” (that are small fireworks that do not leave the ground or explode) being used between July 2, 2020 and July 5th 2020 in a jurisdiction where permitted by law.
State law prohibits most types of fireworks in Colorado and on Federal Lands. It is also illegal to bring fireworks from another state into Colorado for use.
The Sheriff’s Office develops specific guidance, together with local fire Chiefs, regarding fire danger that may or may not align with federal agencies including the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and US Forest Service. Guidance is based on seasonal weekly regional fire calls with local, regional and federal agencies to review contributing factors such as:
- Relative humidity, precipitation levels, and fuels status.
- Geographic considerations such as access to the land.
- Availability of fire suppression equipment in the county.
- Fire conditions and behavior that could threaten firefighter and public safety if a wildfire were to start.
- Time of year and volume of recreational use of the land.
- Federal land restriction status.
San Miguel County is comprised of approximately 60 to 70 percent federal land and 30 to 40 percent private land. More than 95% of all wildfires in the County are started by lightning strikes.
This order applies to the unincorporated areas of San Miguel County. This order does not apply to lands owned by Federal Government and managed by the US Forest Service or BLM (Bureau of Land Management). However, all BLM lands in San Miguel County will enter into Stage 1 restrictions on July 2, as well a small portion of Forest Service Land near Norwood.
The Forest Service has decided not to enter into fire restrictions on the US lands in the Telluride Region.
“It is always easier for our citizens and visitors when the county, BLM, and USFS are on the same page with fire restrictions so people aren’t confused as to where they can have a campfire, but it doesn’t always work that way,” Sheriff Masters said. “At the end of the day, I’m always going to make sure our private land in San Miguel County is protected as much as possible.”
Call your local BLM 970-882-1120 or US Forest Service Office 970-327-4261 for more information about what is permissible on Federal Lands. (Please do not call San Miguel County Dispatch for this information.)
Sheriff Masters said breaking the rules set up in these restrictions could result in criminal charges, including fines and in some cases imprisonment. “But let’s follow these orders to keep our land and our community safe. Preventing wildfires is a team effort by everyone,” he said.
The Egnar Fire District in western San Miguel County is already in Stage 2.
Stage 2 prohibits everything in Stage 1 and the following:
1. Building or using a fire.
2. Smoking anywhere except in an enclosed vehicle or building.
3. Possessing or using any kind of pyrotechnic device (including all fireworks).
4. Use of any explosive.
5. Use of equipment powered by an internal combustion engine between 1PM and 1AM (including chainsaws).
6. Operating any internal or external combustion engine without a functioning spark-arresting device.
7. Using any sort of torch with an open flame (includes welding).
8. Use of motor vehicle off of official roads with exception to parking in spots devoid of vegetation less than 10 feet from roadways and parking overnight at developed campgrounds and trailheads.
9. Using any form of fireworks at anytime or place.
Stage 3 prohibits entering the area under restriction with exception to persons with specific written permit for fire entry, people performing official firefighting related duties, and at times, owners and lessees of land.
For more details on Fire Restriction Stages, go to: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5371474.pdf
”Know before you go” and check local fire restrictions. For the Western Slope go to:
The San Miguel Sheriff’s Office, located in Telluride, Colorado and established in 1883, serves 7,800 residents and countless visitors across the 1,288 square miles of San Miguel County. Sheriff Bill Masters has been serving as the county’s elected Sheriff since 1980