Routt County decides against fire restrictions, but burn bans remain in National Forest | SteamboatToday.com

Routt County decides against fire restrictions, but burn bans remain in National Forest

With fire danger in the region expected to drop and a local wildfire now fully contained, Routt County will not enact any fire restrictions at this time.

Emergency Management Director David "Mo" DeMorat on Monday recommended the county forgo the restrictions, because only three of the four criteria for enacting them had been met.

DeMorat also cited the chances for rain in the local forecast this week as another reason he didn't think the county should impose any restrictions.

"If anything, it seems like we're trending in a positive direction," DeMorat said.

County Commissioners Tim Corrigan and Doug Monger said that, while they would like to be safe rather than sorry, they trusted DeMorat's recommendation and noted the scientific criteria for fire restrictions had not been met.

While the county won't see any restrictions, all areas of the National Forest in Routt County remain under Stage 1 restrictions.

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That means backpackers and dispersed campers in places such as Buffalo Pass can't start campfires. Campers still can use gas stoves to cook food, but campfires are only allowed in permanent rings and pits at designated campsites and recreation areas.

U.S. Forest Service spokesman Aaron Voos said the fire restrictions are being evaluated weekly and could be lifted if the area sees abundant rainfall.

"We don't want to be under restrictions," he said. "It's hard for everybody."

The county's decision not to enact fire restrictions came less than a day after firefighters declared they had fully contained a 482-acre wildfire that started earlier this month near California Park.

Fire crews will continue to monitor the blaze until smoke isn't visible for 48 hours, but the large amount of firefighting resources that were used to contain the fire have been called off.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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