WESTERN SAN JUANS – With monsoonal weather patterns dropping needed moisture across the region, federal and local governmental agencies are lifting fire restrictions in many areas.
Montrose County’s fire ban was lifted by the Montrose Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday, after Undersheriff Adam Mardie, filling in for Sheriff Rick Dunlap, said moisture levels have improved enough to lift the county’s fire ban.
“The Forest Service has been monitoring the fuel moisture levels and ground moisture levels, which were fairly low into the 8 to 14 percent range,” Mardie told the commissioners. “Right now, they are up quite a bit, into the 60 percent area. They are looking for more forecasts of the same in future weeks, therefore ,they decided to lift all restrictions on Forest Service and BLM lands surrounding us.
“We respectfully request that it is rescinded in Montrose County as well.”
The commissioners unanimously approved that request, and the fire ban will officially be lifted on Thursday, July 25.
On Monday, officials with the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests lifted its fire restrictions, effective at noon that day. Then on Tuesday, the Bureau of Land Management announced that it was lifting all fire restrictions on its managed lands in Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, San Juan and San Miguel counties as well as public lands in Saguache County.
“The BLM, in an effort to coordinate with all local governments and agencies, continued Stage 1 restrictions to ensure consistency between county restrictions and restrictions within public lands,” said Connie Clementson, BLM Tres Rios field manager. “We appreciate the public’s willingness to adhere to the restrictions, and we remind everyone that the fire season in Colorado continues through September.”
The BLM wishes to remind residents that human caused fires account for nearly 90 percent of all wildfires in the U.S. Wildfires can be prevented by following these tips:
• Before starting a fire, make sure a shovel, bucket and container of water are available to contain the fire if needed.
• Clear flammable debris away from the site.
• Never start a fire on a windy day.
• Take the time to make sure your fire is dead out.