Editorial Board, August through January 2012
- Scott Stanford, general manager
- Brent Boyer, editor
- Tom Ross, reporter
- Shannon Lukens, community representative
- Scott Ford, community representative
Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@SteamboatToday.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.
Steamboat Springs Monsoonal moisture during the past two weeks has brought some much-needed relief to the extreme drought conditions plaguing our corner of Colorado, but it has done little to reduce the significant fire danger that persists throughout the region. It’s simply too soon to scale back the existing Stage 2 fire restrictions.
Fire and emergency management officials from throughout Northwest Colorado will conduct a conference call Tuesday to discuss local fire conditions. It’s expected that part of their conversation will be whether the Stage 2 restrictions — which, among other things, ban all open flames, including campfires in established fire rings — should be scaled back to Stage 1 restrictions, which would allow campfires in designated areas.
Officials have a detailed set of criteria they consider before recommending specific fire restrictions. But as we saw in April, when officials waited to enact restrictions because criteria hadn’t been met despite more than a dozen agriculture burns that got out of control, sometimes common sense is the best determining factor. Common sense tells us two things:
First, we don’t think the Stage 2 fire restrictions are overly burdensome or have significantly impacted the outdoor experience of Routt County visitors and residents.
Second, and perhaps more significant, the wildfires that already have burned hundreds of homes and killed several people in other parts of the state this summer helped send a very clear message to folks in Northwest Colorado: The danger is real. Enacting Stage 2 restrictions underscored that danger, and by and large people have embraced that reality and the responsibility that comes with protecting our beautiful landscape as well as property and lives from human-caused blazes. We fear the message that would be sent by easing the Stage 2 restrictions — even though fire danger still is considerable — would undo much of the appropriate level of caution being practiced by folks in Routt County.
As a community, we must continue to be vigilant about the fire danger here and the impact a quickly growing wildfire could have on property and lives, not to mention the potential economic repercussions. Similarly, we hope emergency management officials carefully consider the effect on the fire danger message that would result from scaled-back restrictions. Let’s play it safe and keep the Stage 2 restrictions in place.