The Crestone Eagle, July 2006:

Extreme fire bans issued by state, county, town & Forest
No fireworks! No open fires! 80,000 acres in
Colo. already burned and summerís just begun

by Diane Bairstow

On June 1st, Saguache County declared a Fire Hazard Emergency and put the county under Level 1 Fire Restrictions. Any fire, including campfires and charcoal fueled barbeque grills are prohibited. Also prohibited are: all fireworks, smoking outdoors, and welding or operating an acetylene torch (or similar device) with an open flame. Permitted are propane grills with an on/off switch and chainsaws with adequate spark arresting screens.

The Rio Grande National Forest and BLM lands in the SLV have raised their fire ban to a level 2 which prohibtis “Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, coal, charcoal or wood burning stove.” Fireworks are prohibited. No smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building. Fires, even in a developed recreation sites are not permitted. Exceptions to this are petroleum fueled, bottled or liquid gas stoves, lanterns or heating devices.

Gov. Bill Owens announced on June 21 a ban on open burning on state land. This ban includes campfires, warming fires, charcoal grills, fireworks and “any other activity that poses a significant risk of starting a fire.”

The Town of Crestone has also raised their restrictions to be the same as the county and Forest Service. Fireworks and open fires and smoking outdoors in public areas are prohibited.

Penalties for starting a fire are high and include all damages, all costs for fire suppression, up to 12 years in jail, a $750,000 fine, and possible civil damages that are tripled for someone starting a fire. If that isn’t enough, there is the personal horror of knowing your careless act caused horrible damage and destruction. Also know that it is a criminal activity to toss a burning object, such as a cigarette, from a motor vehicle. Be cautious!

Subscribe to the Eagle!