Fire restrictions to be removed

The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are lifing all fire restrictions on federal land, effective Tuesday, , in response to recent rains.

“It’s wet enough that fire danger has decreased,” Forest Service public affairs specialist Ann Bond said Monday.

Connie Clementson, the field manager for the Tres Rios district of the BLM, said: “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 action affects agency land in Archuleta, La Plata, Montezuma and Dolores counties.

La Plata County commissioners are scheduled to consider similar action regarding unincorporated areas Tuesday, said Butch Knowlton, the county manager of emergency preparedness.

Fire restrictions, imposed after weeks of hot, dry weather, focused on campfires, smoking and the use of power tools and explosives on public lands.

Lower and middle elevations in the national forest – below 8,500 feet – which were under stage 1 guidelines announced June 19, went under more restrictive stage 2 regulations just before the Fourth of July. Higher elevations, which had no restrictions, were placed under stage 1 guidelines before the Fourth of July.

The arrival of summer rains in the middle of July was enough to eliminate fire restrictions at elevations above 8,500 feet and reduce restrictions at lower elevations from stage 2 to stage 1.

Now, all federal land is free of restrictions and La Plata County commissioners could follow suit today.

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