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Fire Restrictions Remain In Elbert County For The Holiday

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Copter4 flew over the Burning Tree Fire near Franktown. (credit: CBS)

Copter4 flew over the Burning Tree Fire near Franktown. (credit: CBS)

GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES

FRANKTOWN, Colo. (CBS4) – One of Colorado’s largest counties on the Eastern Plains, Elbert County, will keep burn restrictions in place over the Fourth of July holiday.

The restrictions are in place because the county remains in a drought, even though many of the areas are green. Fire officials say they’ve had unusually high, dry and consistent winds this spring and summer. Couple that with recent high temperatures and the grasses are ready to burn within an hour of being rained on.

Substantial moisture helped conditions when the county transitioned from spring to summer, but they weren’t sustained. The Burning Tree fire near Franktown in March forced the evacuation of 8,500 people and burned about 1,600 acres.

There are many people who do want to see burn restrictions in place, as well as those who don’t.

The burn restrictions also include any type of open burning. Campfires or other burns have to be approved through the fire districts in the county.

“Our community is really concerned since the Burning Tree fire. It really touched home with a lot of people about burning and burn restrictions, and I think they are really looking at how serious a problem this could be and do not want a repeat of what happened in Franktown,” Elizabeth Fire Protection District Fire Marshal Kara Gerczynski said.

It’s up to each town within the county to decide whether or not to allow fireworks, which is why people can still buy fireworks in some places, like Elizabeth.

Kiowa and Simla plan to have public fireworks displays. Fire officials say that’s a good option for people who can’t set off fireworks at home.

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