Colorado's fire season is active and severe. The U.S. Forest Service works year-round to be prepared for the threat of wildfire and to respond immediately when it occurs.
The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) have experienced both lightning and human-caused fires this year and have been able to respond through initial attack to suppress these threats. Nationwide, the Forest Service successfully suppresses almost 98 percent of wildfires during initial attack. Currently, the GMUG has a large wildfire (East Fork Fire) that is being actively managed and our neighboring forests also have several large fires burning with more "smoke reports" being addressed daily.
These factors have resulted in additional fire resources being "staged" on the Western Slope. The GMUG has received an additional three patrol units, three engines and three incident command officers (Type III) to provide additional coverage and support to our local fire resources. The Rio Grande, White River and San Juan National Forests have also received additional resources to assist in initial attack and fire suppression. Additionally, a "Mob Center" has been established in Clifton with additional fire resources and leadership to help coordinate and assign crews, aircraft and other support to incidents across the state.
With the summer camping season in full swing, and weather predictions calling for dry lightning, continued high fire danger and above-average temperatures to continue in the near future, these resources will help local firefighters to quickly act on wildland fires that may occur.
GMUG Forest Supervisor Scott Armentrout stated, "We encourage citizens to get outdoors and enjoy their national forests over the holiday and extended weekend. Please be safe and ensure that you are compliant with current fire restrictions for your safety, as well as others'." He went on to state, "As always, fireworks are not permitted to be used on national forest lands, so please leave them at home."
The Gunnison and Uncompahgre National Forests enacted "Stage I" fire restrictions June 24 that prohibit smoking (unless in an enclosed vehicle, building or a developed recreation site); campfires outside of developed recreation sites in constructed, permanent fire pits or fire grates; and allows the use of portable stoves, gas/jellied petroleum/pressurized fuel or fire in a fully enclosed stove with a 1/4-inch spark arrester type screen. Additionally, chainsaws must have a USDA or SAE approved spark arrester in effective working order, a chemical pressurized extinguisher (minimum 2A rating) with the operator and a round point shovel available for use. It also precludes welding or operating acetylene or other torches under certain conditions and prohibits use of explosives. Many Colorado counties and partner agencies have enacted fire restrictions as well.
The Forest Service wants to thank our citizens and cooperators for their assistance and support during this time of heightened fire danger and on recent wildfires. Reducing risk to firefighters and the public is the first priority in every fire management activity.blog comments powered by Disqus