Wildfire season not over yet in Routt County | SteamboatToday.com

Wildfire season not over yet in Routt County

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Despite recent snowfall, a wildfire Wednesday showed that the fire season is not over yet.

Shortly before 2 p.m., Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue firefighters were called to a report of a wildfire on Routt County Road 44 west of Steamboat Springs.

Firefighters were told that a bonfire had gotten out of control.

Fire Chief Mel Stewart said the wind came up and blew some debris from the bonfire into tall grass. The fire grew, and there were buildings in the area.

It burned a total of about two acres before it was put out.

Stewart said the bonfire was illegal.

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Steamboat has a burn season, but it does not start until Nov. 1 and goes through April 15.

Even during the burn season, there has to be at least six inches of snow on the ground before people can burn.

"We've had a few people start to burn," Stewart said.

People need to get a permit from Routt County Environmental Health before conducting a burn.

Stewart said some people are falsely thinking it is safe to burn.

With temperatures in the 60s Wednesday, the snow on the ground in the valley began to disappear.

"The ground is still wet," Stewart said. "It doesn't mean that moisture is in the vegetation.”

With Wednesday's winds, Stewart said it just takes hours for vegetation to dry out even if there is still some snow on the ground.

The snow has had a positive impact on the large wildfires that burned this summer in Routt County.

Stewart said a plane flew over the Deep Creek fire northeast of Hayden and did not detect any hot spots.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.