Fire and Emergency Info

La Plata County officials coordinate with federal, state, tribal and our local fire districts on fire restrictions.  The La Plata County Board of County Commissioners enacted restrictions effective on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 on open burning upon all lands in unincorporated La Plata County, excluding those private lands in the Towns of Bayfield and Ignacio, the City of Durango, or any Federal or Tribal lands.  The fire restrictions were enacted upon the recommendation of Sheriff Sean Smith and the Chiefs of the local fire districts. 

Stage 1 Fire restrictions were lifted on July 27th, 2021.   Local fire officials monitor weather conditions and fuel moistures throughout the year and will update accordingly if any significant changes occur.  Please remember to always fully extinguish your campfires.

The following information is for education purposes only. 
The open flame prohibitions include the following:

  • Open burning, burn barrels and building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, coal or wood-burning stove, any type of charcoal fueled broiler, or open fire of any type in undeveloped areas
    • Exception: as long as not left unattended and fully extinguished after use, the use of charcoal or gas barbecue grills at private residences or small fires inside established fire rings with a grate cover in a developed recreation area or within a designated campground are not prohibited
  • Smoking is limited to vehicles, buildings, developed recreational areas and 3-foot-wide areas cleared of vegetation
  • Use of explosive material is prohibited (i.e., fireworks, including community fireworks displays, blasting caps, exploding targets or any incendiary device which may result in the ignition of flammable material)
    • Exception: construction areas with written authorization from the designated fire chief
  • Use of any internal combustion engine is prohibited unless it is equipped with an approved and functioning spark-arresting device
  • Welding and cutting operations must be conducted with a 20-foot radius safe zone free of vegetation,  proper hand tools on site with a fire watch individual standing by continuously with either a 2.5 gallon pressurized fire extinguisher or 5 lb. ABC extinguisher or pressurized water supply
  • Flaring for production wells may be allowed with approval from the designated fire chief
  • The use of floating sky lanterns, fire balloons or acetylene balloons

A violation of the fire restrictions shall constitute a class 2 petty offense punishable by a fine of up to $500 for each violation.  The Sheriff and/or the Fire Chiefs may, within their discretion, grant written exceptions to the restrictions within their respective jurisdictions, if, in their professional opinions, such action is appropriate, safe and prudent. 

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