Stage 1 Fire Restrictions have been implemented for the entirety of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests. The forest-wide restrictions went into effect June 24. Previously, the Fruita Division and Uncompahgre Plateau were placed under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions taking effect June 18, 2021.

Fire managers base decisions about fire restrictions on specific fuel moisture measurements in vegetation and other risk factors such as predicted weather and current fire activity. Fire danger is increasing and these restrictions will be implemented to protect public health and safety due to the current and anticipated elevated risk of wildfire. Fire restrictions on these lands will be in place until further notice.

Fire managers will continue to monitor conditions and assess the need for further action, including additional restrictions if weather remains hot and dry and lessening restrictions if a wetter weather pattern develops.

Under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions the following are prohibited:

Igniting, building, attending, maintaining or using a fire (includes fires fueled by charcoal or briquettes) outside of a permanent metal or concrete fire pit or grate that the Forest Service has installed and maintained at its developed recreation sites (campgrounds and picnic areas). Except: The use of a stove or grill solely fueled by liquid petroleum fuels, or a fully enclosed metal stove, grill or sheep herder type stove with a chimney at least 5 feet in length and a mesh screen spark arrestor with a screen opening of ¼ inch or less.

Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, or in a developed recreation site, or while stopping in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

Operating a chainsaw without an effective and properly installed USDA or Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) approved spark arrestor, a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher (with a minimum 8 oz. capacity and rating of 2A) kept with the operator and a round point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches readily available for use.

Blasting, welding, or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame without being in a cleared area of at least 10 feet in diameter and keeping a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher (with a minimum 8 ounce capacity and rating of 2A) with the operator.

Using an explosive. This includes but is not limited to fuses, blasting caps, fireworks, rockets, exploding targets, tracers and incendiary ammunition.

Personal, portable wood or charcoal burning fire pits/rings, often made of stainless steel, are not allowed under these restrictions. Campfires are only allowed in USDA approved and installed fire pits/grates, or gas-fueled devices with an on/off switch.

Violation of these regulations is punishable as a class B misdemeanor, by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment of not more than six months, or both. Anyone negligently or willfully starting a wildland fire could also be held responsible for the costs of that fire.

Almost 90% of all wildfires on public lands are started by humans. It is every forest visitor’s responsibility to recreate responsibly and follow best practices. To report a fire call 9-1-1. As we near the Fourth of July holiday, visitors are reminded that fireworks are never allowed on federally-managed lands.

For up-to-date general information on the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests please contact the appropriate office listed below:

· Forest Supervisor’s Office – Delta – 970-874-6600

· Grand Valley Ranger District – Grand Junction – 970-242-8211

· Ouray Ranger District – Montrose – 970-240-5300

· Gunnison Ranger District – Gunnison – 970-641-0471

· Norwood Ranger District – Norwood – 970-327-4261

· Paonia Ranger District – Paonia – 970-527-4131

For information and updates on current fire restrictions, conditions and recreation opportunities on the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests, call 970-874-6602, visit the GMUG forest website or follow us on social media (Twitter and Facebook). For more fire-related information on Colorado’s Western Slope visit West Slope Fire Info website.

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