High and Dry is no joke

Although readers of The Mountain-Ear will notice that a few stories in this edition are April Fools’ fabrications, many of the stories are true and factual. One very serious item is the fire danger present in the Peak to Peak area right now. This is no joke.
As a result, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office and Denver Parks and Recreation have issued a fire ban that became effective on Tuesday, March 27. As of Tuesday, no fire ban had been issued in Gilpin County, but that does not diminish the fire danger now, as demonstrated by the recent large fires near Conifer and Genesee. Sheets and blankets can still be donated for victims of those fires at the School in Aspen Park.
As stated by the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, the County has seen little moisture over the past month, and fire conditions continue to worsen as little relief is anticipated. In addition, fire and high wind warnings and watches have continued to be issued almost weekly. The National Weather Service has declared March 2012 as the driest month on record. These weather conditions along with a series of at least three human-caused fires this past week have prompted Sheriff Joe Pelle to proactively respond by issuance of a Fire Ban.
 The sale of fireworks and use of fireworks and model rockets is prohibited in all unincorporated areas of Boulder County. The Sheriff requests that outdoor recreational shooting be considered hazardous, and the public should take great caution or even refrain from these activities.
 The Fire Ban allows for fire contained within Liquid or gas fuel stoves; camp fires in U.S. Forest Service improved or maintained campgrounds that are currently open to the public; Charcoal grill fires on private lands. It bans all other open fire, the use of any kind of fireworks and model rockets. The Fire ban will remain in effect until the hazardous fire conditions subside. Anyone found in violation of the Fire Ban may be convicted of a class 2 petty offense and may be subject to a $500 fine. Higher fines may be imposed for subsequent offenses.
The following are prohibited in Denver Mountain Parks during the fire ban: anything that produces and open flame or has the potential to create and 
uncontrollable fire; Building, maintaining, attending or using any fire to burn trash, debris, fence rows or vegetation; any campfire or warming fire; use of charcoal or open fire for grilling or cooking; smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building; operating a chain saw without a USDA or SAE approved spark protector and having a chemical arresting device properly installed in an in effective working order; welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame; use of an explosive initiation system requiring a burning fuse line.
 On this April 1 and until the ban is lifted, playing with fire will be no joke in the Rocky Mountains.

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