SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Summit Fire and EMS have stopped issuing burn permits for residents to eliminate wood waste on their property through the end of Labor Day. A spokesperson with the agency said this is largely due to the recent weather and the chance of wildfires increasing, but also that this is the “new normal” for Colorado climate. That’s also why this ban period will be in place every year after this as well.
“We just think that what we’ve seen over the past ten, 15, 20 years of longer fire seasons, more severe fires, hotter, drier weather, ferocious winds, we just think that this is what our climate has in store for us,” Summit Fire and EMS PIO Steve Lipsher said.
This ban does not include firepits or wood-burning campfires on people’s properties, although a burning permit is required to operate those as well. Lipsher said almost 90% of wildfires have a human-caused source, so making sure we eliminate as much human risk the better.
“We’re definitely worried that we are embarking on a longer fire season than what we’ve seen in the past,” Lipsher said.
While campfires are currently allowed in some spots in Colorado’s national forests, Lipsher added just simple things like making sure a fire is all the way out can be the difference between the destruction of towns and homes, and another lovely Colorado summer. He added firefighters actually stick their hands into the ashes of a fire after they believe it’s fully extinguished, and if it’s cold, they’re good to move on. But even the slightest warmth means you’d need to keep pouring water on, stirring the dirt, adding dirt to the fire, and keeping a close eye on the pit.
“We’ve seen campfires start back up one or two days later even,” Lipsher warned.