Steamboat Springs Spring brings the yearn to burn.
Local, state and federal fire officials are aware warmer temperatures and longer days give residents more reason to build fires in their backyards and fields.
Agricultural burning is increasing in the county, as ranchers and property owners turn to open burning as a way to reduce agricultural refuse on their land and replace nutrients in the soil.
Other people may want to set small campfires outside their home for enjoyment.
Whatever the desired effect, residents are asked to give the county a heads-up before they light a fire.
The Routt County Wildland Fire Multi-Agency Coordination Advisory Group, which includes representatives from Routt County Emergency Management, Colorado State Forest Service, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management and fire chiefs from each fire district in the county, has advised would-be burners to notify fire and county personnel of any plans to burn land on their property.
Anyone who intends to burn agricultural refuse on their property should contact Routt County Communications at 879-1110 and request a courtesy open-burning notification. The county does not charge a fee for the notification, which includes information about the planned burn area's size and location and the estimated burning time.
Local fire departments must approve recreational fires because of nearby homes and buildings and the potential for smoke to aggravate people's respiratory problems.
Residents who live outside the boundaries of the Steamboat Springs Fire Department and Oak Creek or West Routt fire protection districts should contact Routt County Communications.
People who plan a burn that is not linked to agricultural or recreational purposes should contact the County Environmental Health Department at 879-0185 for an air quality permit.
Oak Creek Fire Chief Chuck Wisecup said such a situation might arise when residents want to burn yard refuse such as twigs or limbs.
A heads-up to the authorities before people start a fire on their land goes a long way.
Proper notification means firefighters won't spend their time responding to reports of fire that aren't really a threat, Wisecup said.
The Routt County Wildland Fire Multi-Agency Coordination Advisory Group was created last year to replace the Wildland Fire Council, which began establishing policies and fire-suppression strategies in 1993.
The advisory group gives people who actually fight fires an opportunity to offer recommendations to a policy group comprised of elected officials.
The Wildland Fire Multi-Agency Coordination Policy Group, which includes a Routt County Sheriff's Office representative, a county commissioner, a Steamboat Springs City Council member and board members from each fire district, concentrates on developing policies and finding ways to fund the county program.
Fire districts signed an agreement upon the council's breakup to respond to wildland fires anywhere in the county. The county agreed to reimburse districts for the cost of fighting fires.
-- To reach Danie Harrelson call 871-4203 or e-mail email@example.com