Craig The Moffat County Commissioners approved, 2-0, Resolution 2012-72 on Tuesday establishing a fire ban in unincorporated portions of Moffat County.
The ban takes effect immediately.
Among the activities prohibited include the burning of trash, fence rows, debris and vegetation; lighting a campfire or charcoal grill outside developed recreation areas featuring permanent fire pits with grates; smoking outside in non-designated areas; operating a chainsaw without a U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved spark-arresting device; welding or using an open-flamed torch that is not clear of flammable materials for at least 10 feet on all sides; using explosives requiring fuses or blasting caps; and the discharge of any fireworks.
Commissioner Tom Mathers said the looming ban has been a topic among county residents since Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz recommended June 5 that elected officials take preventative action against the potential for a human-caused wildfire.
Talks have only intensified since the 430,000-acre High Park fire ignited Saturday near Fort Collins, Mathers said.
“When you’ve got those huge fires on the Front Range, it provides people with awareness of how bad it is,” Mathers said.
Jantz recommended a week ago the commission consider passing a fire restriction ordinance.
An ordinance would have provided, among other things, law enforcement representatives with the authority to levy fines against residents who would otherwise ignore a resolution.
Commissioners cited an ordinance would require a public introduction and two readings before it could be approved in their decision to enact a fire ban resolution.
Had commissioners decided to enact an ordinance, it would not have taken effect until after July 4.
However, the commission followed part of Jantz’s advice by stipulating certain exemptions to the ban.
Residents may acquire a free permit through the sheriff’s office to burn open fires.
“We’re a little behind in comparison to other counties, but I also think we are more in tune with what our public wants,” Jantz said. “I think the public is well aware of what is going on in the state, and I think the (burn permit) provides us with the opportunity to educate the public.”
Also among the exemptions are the burning of liquid- or gas-fueled stoves, indoor fireplaces, charcoal grills on private residences and bonfires required for religious ceremonies.
An existing city ordinance already bans open burning within Craig city limits.