Burn notification urged


Controlled burn contacts

For agricultural burns, call Routt County Communications at 879-1110 to provide a courtesy notification. Be prepared to provide the following information: location, size of area to be burned, start and finish times, material(s) to be burned and property ownership.

For all other open burning and recreation fires, call the Routt County Environmental Health Department at 879-0185 for an Air Quality Permit, and your local fire protection district:

- North Routt Fire Protection District: 879-6064

- Oak Creek Fire Protection District: 736-8104

- Steamboat Springs Rural Fire Protection District: 879-2060, ext. 216

- West Routt Fire Protection District: 276-3796

- Yampa Fire Protection District: 638-4227

— It happens every spring. Neighbors or passing motorists see smoke rising from the Yampa Valley floor and call 911 to report the wildfire.

Fire crews are dispatched to the scene, only to discover it's a controlled agricultural burn.

The Routt County Office of Emergency Management hopes to curtail the number of such incidents this year. Officials are asking residents to give a heads-up before beginning a controlled burn by calling Routt County Communications to provide a courtesy burn notification.

In the past week, 38 controlled burns were reported to Routt County Communications. Such courtesy notifications not only allow dispatchers to share the most up-to-date wind warnings with would-be burners, but also to prevent the unnecessary dispatch of fire crews to controlled burns.

"You decide to set something on fire, and your neighbor looks out and calls 911," Routt County Emergency Management Director Chuck Vale said. "Then it's a huge waste of taxpayer money because we have fire equipment running all over the county."

Agricultural burning is defined as burning cover vegetation for crop production, weed control or other cultivation purposes, or the disposal of agricultural byproducts.

"It is the season for open burning in Routt County," Vale said. "Agricultural burning is very normal; it's very good for the land."

However, the burning of general trash and other materials separately or in conjunction with agricultural burns is not permitted, Vale said.

All Hazards Public Safety Council sets meeting date

The Routt County All Hazards Public Safety Council has set its first meeting for June 26. The council will encompass and replace four existing public safety groups: the Routt County Wildland Fire MAC Advisory Group, the Routt County EMS Council, the Local Emergency Preparedness Committee and the Routt County Communication Advisory Board. Creating the council has been in the works since 2003, Oak Creek Fire Protection District Chief Chuck Wisecup said.

The creation of the Routt County All Hazards Public Safety Council not only will make it easier for the county to comply with the requirements of the National Incident Management System - a federal emergency management framework developed by the Department of Homeland Security - but also combines redundant meetings into one, Vale said.

Members of the Routt County Wildland Fire MAC Advisory and Policy groups also elected their leadership at a joint meeting Thursday, their first in 2008.

Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Bob Struble will serve a one-year term as chairman of the Advisory Group, with Wisecup serving as vice chairman. Oak Creek Fire Protection District Board member Chris Zuschlag will serve a one-year term as chairman of the Policy Group, with North Routt Fire Protection District Board member Susan Marshall as vice chairwoman.

Both Stagecoach and the Fish Creek Falls area are seeking to update their new Community Wildlife Protection plans in the coming months, Colorado State Forest Service District Forester John Twitchell said Thursday.

Since the Fish Creek-Sanctuary Plan was completed in 2007, landowners in the upper Fish Creek Falls area have expressed interest in expanding the geographic reach of the plan to their area, Twitchell said.

A meeting to discuss updates to the Stagecoach plan is at 7 p.m. Monday at the Stagecoach fire station.

- To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203 or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com


justathought 9 years, 1 month ago

If they can't take the 2 minutes to inform RCC of a controlled burn then they should be charged the full cost of any fire call. Why should tax money be wasted on these type of calls just because someone's to inconsiderate to make a quick phone call.


corduroy 9 years, 1 month ago

what about just a campfire?? do we need to call and report that we'll be having one?

Generally if I see smoke near farmland I don't immediately think "Oh a wildfire!" I think "Oh, a controlled burn"

Too much paranoia!


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