Boulder County enacts fire ban
“Warm winter temperatures and low moisture have increased the fire danger”
*Boulder County, Colo.* -On Wednesday, March 15, Sheriff Joe Pelle enacted a fire ban for western Boulder County due to warm winter temperatures and low moisture, which has resulted in an increased fire danger. The fire ban is effective immediately.
The fire ban includes the mountain areas of Boulder County. The mountain areas include any and all unincorporated areas of the county:
* West of CO Highway 93 (CO-93), from its intersection with the southern boundary of Boulder County until, and including, its intersection with CO Highway 119 (CO-119);
* West of Broadway Avenue in the City of Boulder, from its intersection with CO-119 until, and including, its intersection with US Highway 36 (US-36);
* West of US-36, from its intersection with Broadway Avenue until its intersection with the northern boundary of Boulder County;
* West of the western boundary of the Rabbit Mountain Open Space until, and including, US-36; and
* All of the Rabbit Mountain Open Space property.
A map depicting the areas of Boulder County affected by the burn ban is included below.
The fire ban *_PROHIBITS_*:
* Building, maintaining, attending, or using an open fire, campfire, or stove fire (including charcoal barbeques and grills);
* Fireworks sales, use, and possession, including permissible fireworks;
* Shooting or discharging firearms for recreational purposes, except for hunting with a valid and current hunting license;
* Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials;
* Operating a chainsaw without a USDA or SAE-approved spark arrester properly installed and in effective working order. A chemical, pressurized fire-extinguisher must be kept with the operator, and at least one round-point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches must be readily available for use;
* Welding or operating an acetylene or other open-flame torch, except in cleared areas of at least 10 feet in diameter, and with a chemical, pressurized fire-extinguisher immediately available for use; and
* Using an explosive.
The fire ban *_ALLOWS_*:
* Building, maintain, attending or using a fire in constructed, permanent fire pits or fire grates, within developed recreation sites, and on private lands;
* The use of portable stoves;lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel; or a fully enclosed (sheepherder-type) stove with a 1/4″ spark arrester-type screen.
The fire ban does not affect open fires within incorporated cities and towns; however, citizens must comply with applicable ordinances and regulations in their respective cities and towns. The fire ban will be in effect until Sheriff Pelle finds that the hazardous conditions have subsided.
The following developed United States Forest Service (USFS) recreation sites are located within Boulder County and are exempted from the fire ban, in accordance with USFS policies and closures, when open and staffed: Kelly Dahl Campground, Rainbow Lakes Campground, Camp Dick Campground, Peacefully Valley Campground, Meeker Park Overflow Campground, Olive Ridge Campground, and the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, which includes the Pawnee Campground.
For current fire,shooting, and developed recreation site restrictions and seasonal closures for USFS properties, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/arp/alerts-notices.
State statutes authorize counties to impose a fire ban “to a degree and in a manner that the Board of County Commissioners deems necessary to reduce the danger of wildfires within those portions of the unincorporated areas of the county where the danger of forest or grass fires is found to be high based on competent evidence.” Due to the higher temperatures and lack of moisture, the current fire conditions in Boulder County have moved above historical averages. The fire ban was enacted in response to this change in potential wildfire threat.
Anyone found in violation of the fire ban may be convicted of a class two petty offense, and may be subject to a $500 fine, in addition to any possible civil penalties. Higher fines may be imposed for subsequent offenses.
Fire Restrictions Implemented in Unincorporated Gilpin County
Effective at 12:00 p.m. March 14, 2017, the Gilpin County Sheriff will enact Stage 1 Fire Restrictions for all unincorporated Gilpin County. These restrictions are being enacted due to current dry conditions favorable for the possibility of a wildfire, and limited availability of fire control resources. Conditions will continue to be monitored and restrictions will be adjusted in the coming weeks as necessary.
The following activities are prohibited pursuant to Stage 1 Fire Restrictions:
Building, maintaining, attending or using any fire or recreational campfire, except a recreational fire within a permanently constructed fire grate in a developed park, campground, private residence, or picnic area.
NOTE: Users of private residential recreational campfires exempted as described above are encouraged to contact their local fire agency and advise start and finish times to alleviate smoke check responses.
Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area of at least six feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all combustible material. (2015 IFC 320.8).
Open burning, including “bon fires” that require a permit from the fire authority having jurisdiction, will not be allowed during these restrictions. (2015 IFC 105.6.30).
The use of fireworks are prohibited within unincorporated Gilpin County.
NOTE: Burn permits issued and not executed prior to the effective date of these temporary fire restrictions shall not be authorized unless approved by the issuing agency on the day of execution.
Exemptions approved under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions:
Use of liquid or gas fueled appliances.
Approved wood pellet grills.
Charcoal barbeque grills at private residences or within a permanently constructed grate in a developed park, campground, or picnic area and not closer than 30 feet from an undeveloped area. (2015 IFC 308.1.6).
Portable outdoor fireplaces, Tiki torches, chimineas and fire pits at private residence or in a developed park, campground, or picnic area and not closer than 30 feet from an undeveloped area. (2015 IFC 307.4.3).
Welding and cutting torch appliances, as described above in the definition section, may only be operated in an area no closer than 30 feet from an undeveloped area. (2015 IFC 308.1.6).
Recreational fires not closer than 30 feet from an undeveloped area. (2015 IFC 307.4.2).
Permitted fires by persons with a permit specifically authorizing the prohibited act such as professional fireworks displays.
Contact must be made with the permitting authority to verify the status of permits issued prior to the establishment of burn restrictions.
Fire department / district training fires.
Burning of explosive wastes by manufacturer of explosives in areas zoned for industrial use, when the burning is supervised by the fire protection district.
Open fires or open burning by any federal, state, or local officer in the performance of official fire suppression functions.
Individuals operating under any of the above exemptions shall take adequate measures to prevent uncontrolled fires. Possible measures include, but are not limited to:
Containers of adequate water or dry soil nearby.
Shovels, fire extinguishers, or other extinguishing agents nearby.
Coordination with the local fire department or district to be on scene or standby during an activity.
As defined in section 12-28-101(3) C.R.S, and shall specifically include “permissible fireworks” as defined in section 12-28-101(8) C.R.S.
Liquid or gas fueled appliances:
Appliances such as fire pits, grills and camp stoves that burn liquid or gaseous fuels and can be shut off. This does not include any device that burns solid fuels such as wood or charcoal and which must be extinguished.
Open fire and open burning:
Any outdoor fire larger than a recreational fire and not contained within a portable outdoor fireplace. This includes but is not limited to campfires, bonfires, warming fires, the lighting of any fused explosives, permissible fireworks, the use of model rockets, “sky lanterns”, and the burning of fence lines or rows, grass lands, fields, farm lands, ditches, range lands, and wild lands. Permits from the fire district are required for open fires.
Portable outdoor fireplace:
A commercially purchased portable, outdoor, solid-fuel-burning fireplace that may be constructed of steel, concrete, clay, or other non-combustible material. A portable outdoor fireplace may be open in design, or may be equipped with a small hearth opening and a short chimney or chimney opening at the top (chimineas). These devices must be operated according to the manufactures’ instructions with all covers, screens, spark arresters, and grates in place. Portable outdoor fireplaces shall not be operated within 30 feet of a structure or combustible material.
An outdoor fire burning material other than rubbish or debris where the fuel being burned is not contained in a portable outdoor fireplace or barbeque grill and has a total fuel area of 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less in height for pleasure (Tiki torches), religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purposes. This includes fires in barrels and drums; fixed, permanent outdoor fireplaces; and barbeque pit fires.
Lands that are not groomed, manicured, or watered, where grasses, brush and trees have been allowed to grow in a natural environment. This includes green belts that are not landscaped or manicured, open space lands, non-manicured park lands, and other areas where the fire hazard presented by the vegetation is determined to be an undue wildland fire hazard.
Welding and cutting torch appliances:
Gas cylinder mixtures, electric and/or portable powered welders and cutting appliances which produce heat, flame, sparks, molten metal slag, etc.
Pursuant to County Policy Part 3, Chapter 6, Section 2, authorizing the Declaration of Open Fire Bans, violations of these prohibitions, upon conviction, is punishable by a fine of not more than $600.00. Such act(s) violate section(s) 102.8 and/or 308.2.1 of the International Fire Code.