Fire danger increasing in the region but no ban currently in place

Just be really careful right now

By Mark Reaman

Despite weeks of no significant precipitation there is still not a fire ban in the county as of Wednesday, June 28. However, the warm, dry and windy weather of late has significantly increased the fire danger so be very careful out there.

Crested Butte fire chief Ric Ems and chief marshal Mike Reily are asking everyone to be conscious of the weather conditions and obey the rules in place to prevent fires.

“There is no rain predicted in the short-term forecast and with the wind like we are getting today, the conditions are just getting dryer,” said Ems. “Public safety officials are meeting on Fridays to ascertain the fire situation so things could change as far as a fire ban. Right now it looks like we are expecting below-average precipitation and above-average temperatures.”

“We want everyone to use extreme caution with things like campfires and even charcoal grilling,” added Reily.

Ems emphasized that fireworks are prohibited in the national forests and on any federal lands. In the local municipalities only fireworks that do not explode or leave the ground are allowed. So no major fireworks are permitted. Stick to the sparklers and ground displays right now.

“In other words, nothing too fun is allowed,” quipped Reily.

Ems said as far as camping, people should be aware of not just their campfire but everyone’s fire. People can sometimes leave a spot without totally extinguishing their fire so if you see smoke coming from a fire ring, take action to douse it.

“We are on the line and there are something like 23 somewhat major fires west of us,” said Ems. “Conditions are not improving but no one is ready to implement any ban right now.”

Gunnison County issued a high fire danger warning last Friday that has carried into this week. The county is asking people to make sure they clear any flammable material away from campfires, never leave a campfire and do not use fireworks on public lands.

“It is normally very dry in the Gunnison Basin, and extreme care should be exercised when using fire anywhere in the county—whether for burning weeds, slash piles, or for camping,” the county website states. “Make sure you have the appropriate fire suppression tools and supplies readily available when starting your fire. Your fire is your responsibility. Make sure you use it in a safe, responsible manner.”

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