(CBS4)– In a rare mid-summer move, local and state agencies in Colorado’s high country have made the decision to lift all fire restrictions while moisture levels remain high.
“That doesn’t mean they couldn’t change and that doesn’t mean that there’s no risk. Of course, if it starts heating up in a few weeks, if things get drier, if fires start to take off, then things could change,” said Kelsha Anderson, District Ranger in the White River National Forest.
Anderson says campers need to exercise extreme caution. Moisture levels in fuels across the forest is low, but not historically low and they continue to grow. A promising sign.
“We have received considerable rain across the forest in the past few weeks,” she continued, “that’s resulted in how hot a fire could burn, we call that the energy release component, that’s been reduced over the last couple weeks consistently.”
Many counties are currently in stage one fire restrictions which means you can have a campfire, but only at an established campsite with an official fire ring. Beginning Friday at 12:01 a.m. all fire restrictions in Eagle, Summit, Pitkin, Mesa and Gunnison Counties will be lifted.
This means you don’t have to be at an established campsite to have a fire, although an established ring is still the safest and preferred option by forest service officials.
The Summit County Sheriff anticipates the area will have a lower fire risk for the next two weeks but says it’s important to keep in mind, this moisture doesn’t mean we are out of the woods. Fire season doesn’t typically start until late summer and can run into the fall as established by the East Troublesome fire, which began late October 2020.
It’s important to continue to keep an eye on local fire restrictions, which can change at any time and are available on individual county websites.