Commissioners enact Stage I fire restrictions in La Plata County

The La Plata County Board of County Commissioners today enacted restrictions effective immediately on open burning in the unincorporated private land areas of La Plata County. The fire restrictions were enacted upon the recommendation of Sheriff Sean Smith and the chiefs of the local fire districts.

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe has enacted similar Stage I fire restrictions for Tribal lands effective Monday. The San Juan National Forest has been under Stage I restrictions since April 7, and Bureau of Land Management’s Tres Rios Field Office has also enacted Stage I restrictions in La Plata County.

Middle and low elevations in Southwest Colorado had limited snow accumulation this past winter and it has largely melted below 10,000 feet in elevation. Precipitation is at 75% of the October 1-April 24 average, and the existing precipitation deficit is worsening.

The fire restrictions prohibit open burning and burn barrels on private property in the unincorporated private land areas of La Plata County.  The use of a campfire, coal or wood-burning stove, any type of charcoal grill or open fire in any undeveloped area is prohibited.  The fire restrictions do not include charcoal fires in suitable containers or gas grills for barbeques at private residences or fires within designated campground pits with protective grates; however, residents and visitors alike must not to leave these fires unattended and must carefully and fully extinguish them after use. 

The open flame prohibitions also include the following: 

  • Smoking is limited to vehicles, buildings, developed recreational areas and 3-foot-wide areas cleared of vegetation
  • Fireworks are prohibited
  • Use of explosive material is prohibited
  • 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 with a 2.5 gallon pressurized fire extinguisher or 5 lb. ABC extinguisher or pressurized water supply and proper hand tools on site with a fire watch individual standing by continuously; and
  • Flaring for production wells may be allowed with approval from the designated fire chief.
For information on the San Juan National Forest fire restrictions, please visit this page.