As western Colorado continues to dry up, fire danger is high, and fire restrictions are being implemented across the western slope.

It certainly is not unexpected news as seasonal high temperatures, strong winds, and a general lack of moisture have raised the fire danger significantly in western Colorado. Precautionary measures are being taken in an effort to minimize the threat of wildfires.

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions In Montrose County and Ouray County

Unincorporated areas of Montrose are in stage 1 fire restrictions as of June 15. The restrictions prohibit open burning of any kind including agricultural burning, open campfires, and fireworks. Smoking outdoors is not allowed unless it's in an enclosed vehicle or building or in a developed recreation site. The restrictions do not apply to the city limits of Montrose or the towns of Olathe, Naturita, Nucla, Ouray, Ridgway, or Colona.

Violating the fire ban is a class-2 petty offense with fines ranging from $100 to $500. The fire restrictions will remain in effect until further notice. If damage is caused to someone else's property because of a violation, additional criminal charges could be levied.

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Fire Restrictions On BLM Land

Meanwhile, stage 1 fire restrictions have been implemented for all Bureau of Land Management public lands administered by the Gunnison and Uncompahgre field offices within the boundaries of several western Colorado counties including Delta, Gunnison, Montrose, Ouray, San Juan, San Miguel, and portions of Hinsdale and Saguache Counties.

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What Do Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Mean?

  • Campfires are only allowed within designated fire grates in developed campgrounds - 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 material, including explosive targets.
  • No welding or operation of an acetylene or other similar torch with open flame except in 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.
  • Fireworks are always prohibited on public lands.

Stage 2 Fire Restrictions in Tres Rios Field Office

Stage 2 fire restrictions have been implemented, effective June 15 for all BLM lands administered by the Tres Rios Field Office including the counties of Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, the southwest corner of Montrose, and the western portion of San Miguel counties including Canyon of the Ancients National Monument.

Violations of federal fire restrictions are punishable by a fine of up to $1000 and/or up-to 12 months in prison.

From all indications, it's going to be a hot, dry Colorado summer. The fire restrictions implemented this week are just the tip of the iceberg -with more restrictions to follow.

Mesa County Stage 1 Fire Restrictions: What You Can + Cannot Do

What exactly constitutes Stage 1 Fire Restrictions? According to the press release from the Mesa County Fire Chief's Association, Stage 1 Fire Restrictions prohibit:
  •  Personal use of fireworks
  • Campfires outside of designated fire pits or fire rings
  • Agricultural open burning without a Sheriff’s issued burn permit
  • Use of explosive targets
  • Smoking outside near combustible materials

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