La Plata County Emergency Management works with multiple partners, as a collaborative effort, a group of professionals meet biweekly to determine the need to implement fire restrictions. The coordinating group may meet more frequent than biweekly depending on weather and drought conditions. Ensure that you and your family as well as neighbors, are signed up for CodeRED to receive evacuation notices and other updates via cell phone or email: http://bit.ly/CodeRed_signup.
La Plata County is currently in Stage I fire restrictions.
The following acts are prohibited in the unincorporated areas of La Plata County and upon all lands owned by La Plata County, excluding those private lands in the Towns of Bayfield and Ignacio, the City of Durango, or any Federal or Tribal lands:
(a) 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, except that, as long as not left unattended and fully extinguished after use, the use of charcoal or gas barbecue grills at private residences or fires within a designated campground are not prohibited; and
(b) Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, in a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area that is at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable vegetation; and
(c) Using explosive material (i.e., fireworks, blasting caps, or any incendiary device which may result in the ignition of flammable material), except that local community fireworks displays approved by and under the control of the Fire Chief within whose jurisdiction the display will take place are not prohibited; and
(d) Welding and/or operating an acetylene or similar torch with an open flame, except that, as long as a fire watch individual is on site and readily available with proper hand tools and either one 2 ½ gallon pressurized fire extinguisher, one 5 pound ABC extinguisher, or pressurized water supply, welding and/or operating an acetylene or similar torch with an open flame in a 20-foot radius safe zone free of vegetation is not prohibited (welding and cutting operations related to oil and gas production are addressed in 3(c) below); and
(e) Operating or using any internal combustion engine, except that operating or using any internal combustion engine equipped with an approved, properly installed, and properly maintained spark-arresting device meeting either Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Standard 5100-1 or Society of Automotive Engineers recommended practice J335(b) and J350 (a) is not prohibited.
The following activities related to oil and gas production in the unincorporated areas of La Plata County and upon all lands owned by La Plata County excluding those private lands in the Towns of Bayfield and Ignacio, the City of Durango, or any Federal or Tribal lands are specifically not prohibited:
(a) Flaring for production wells and production facilities shall be allowed as long as approved by the Fire Chief within whose jurisdiction the proposed flaring will take place, or, in the event that the proposed flaring is not within a Fire Chiefs’ jurisdiction, by the La Plata County Director of the Office of Emergency Management (the “OEM Director”). Further, operators shall notify the La Plata County Emergency Communications Center (970 385-2900) and the Ignacio Dispatch Center (970 563-4401 or 4402) in advance of any flaring; and
(b) Installing drilling rigs shall be allowed as long as operators file a Production Well Emergency Response Information Form that accurately includes the location, duration, and contemplated activities with the OEM Director; and
(c) Welding and/or operating an acetylene or similar torch with an open flame related to oil and gas production shall be allowed when conducted in a 20-foot radius safe zone free of vegetation and when complying with the requirements of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Rule 606A(o) regarding Fire Prevention and Production.
The Sheriff and/or the Fire Chiefs may, within their discretion, grant exceptions to the restrictions enumerated in paragraphs 2 and 3 above within their respective jurisdictions, if, in their professional opinions, such action is appropriate, safe and prudent. As soon as practical after granting an exception, the Sheriff or any Fire Chief shall notify the Board in writing of the nature, extent, and circumstances of the granted exception.