Routt County prepares to enact Stage 1 fire restrictions Tuesday | SteamboatToday.com

Routt County prepares to enact Stage 1 fire restrictions Tuesday

A campfire burns on Rabbit Ears Pass in March 2012. Stage 1 fire restrictions in Routt County will mostly affect disperse campers and prohibit campfires outside of designated fire rings.

Stage 1 fire restrictions

Stage 1 restrictions in Routt County prohibit:

■ Building a fire except at designated recreation sites. Burning of debris, irrigation ditches and vegetation also is prohibited.

■ Smoking 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 material.

■ Explosives, welding and torches. Engines on things such as chain saws are required to have a spark-arresting device correctly installed.

Violating the fire restrictions is considered a Class 2 petty offense and can result in fines of as much as $600. Anyone with questions about the restrictions can call the Office of Emergency Management at 970-870-5551.

— Most of Routt County, including the city of Steamboat Springs, is expected to be under Stage 1 fire restrictions Tuesday just before the busy holiday weekend.

The new restrictions mostly will affect those who choose to disperse camp outside of designated campgrounds, and won’t spoil the plans of anyone in the city limits who wants to set off legal fireworks that don’t leave the ground.

Still, fire managers here are advising residents and visitors to use extra caution when using any type of flame as a lack of precipitation continues to worsen the fire danger.

"We’re predicted to go back into that hot, dry spell," Emergency Management Director Bob Struble said. "Really the fire conditions haven’t improved at all."

All of the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands here will be under Stage 1 restrictions starting Tuesday.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners is expected to enact the restrictions Tuesday morning.

Officials in Steamboat said the city will follow suit.

Stage 1 restrictions prohibit agricultural burns, burning trash and any campfires that are not in designated campgrounds or recreational sites.

People who camp still can use propane-powered grills that have a shutoff valve.

And anyone who plans to set off fireworks on Independence Day also should be aware of any restrictions, which vary depending on where you are in the county.

In Colorado, all fireworks that leave the ground cannot be legally set off anywhere unless they are being used in an approved public display.

On federal and BLM lands, no fireworks are ever allowed.

Despite the first level of fire restrictions, the fire chiefs in Steamboat and Hayden don’t plan to restrict this week the use of any legal fireworks that do not leave the ground.

That means families can purchase and use sparklers, fountains and other legal fireworks sold in Steamboat Springs.

“Everyone is real conscientious about the fire danger,” Mary Dike said Monday as families continued to purchase fireworks at her stand near downtown Steamboat. “They can safely use fireworks with common sense.”

She said as people purchase the fireworks, she’s giving them safety tips for how to use them.

They include watering lawns if any fireworks or sparklers are going to be used near the grass, and keeping a bucket of water handy to dispose of used fireworks.

Popular items at the stand include miniature mobile tanks that light up when lit and fountain-like fireworks.

Dike said because of last year’s statewide ban on fireworks, business so far has been slow as people question whether they are allowed.

While the city of Steamboat is planning to enact Stage 1 restrictions, no fire restrictions have been announced in the towns of Hayden or Oak Creek.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com