Federal fire bans upgraded

Open burning not allowed in lower campsites

TIGHTER FIRE restrictions have been instituted for the lower elevations of BLM and Forest Service lands in Southwest Colorado, and new restrictions have been put in place above 8,500 feet. Enlargephoto

TIGHTER FIRE restrictions have been instituted for the lower elevations of BLM and Forest Service lands in Southwest Colorado, and new restrictions have been put in place above 8,500 feet.

As of Tuesday morning, the entire San Juan National Forest is under fire restrictions, with lower elevations (Zone 1) upgraded to stricter Stage II restrictions and Zone II, above 8,500 feet, now under Stage I fire restrictions.

The same restrictions are also in force for Bureau of Land Management lands in Southwest Colorado.

The lower and middle-elevation terrain is now subject to the following restrictions:

All open fires and campfires are banned even in established campgrounds.

Chainsaws and other internal-combustion engines must have approved, working spark arresters, and chainsaw use must be accompanied by a shovel and fire extinguisher.

Welding or use of acetylene or other torches with an open flame is prohibited.

Use of explosives is prohibited.

At higher elevations, the following restrictions are in place:

Campfires are limited to permanent fire rings or grates only within developed campgrounds.

Smoking is limited to within vehicles, buildings or 3-foot-wide areas cleared of vegegation.

Chainsaws and other internal-combustion engines must have approved, working spark arresters. (This restriction is always in effect on public lands.

Welding or use of acetylene or other torches with an open flame is prohibited.

Use of explosives is prohibited.

The National Park Service has instituted a fire ban as well. No open fires are permitted in the park, including at the residences, Morefield Campground and the Chapin Mesa picnic area. Pressurized gas stoves and contained charcoal grills are permitted at Morefield Campground and the Chapin Picnic area. Smoking is only permitted inside enclosed vehicles.

Possession and use of fireworks is always prohibited everywhere on federal lands.