Stage 1 Fire Restrictions begin July 21, 2023
MESA COUNTY, Colo - The Mesa County Sheriff, the Bureau of Land Management and the Fire Chiefs representing municipalities and fire protection districts of Mesa County are implementing Stage 1 Fire Restrictions effective at 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 21, 2023. This applies to all of Mesa County including BLM land with the EXCEPTION of land managed by the U.S. Forest Service.
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions prohibit:
“We don’t make this decision without thoughtful consideration. We look at the data, the potential for
significant wildfires and balance it with the impacts to our community,” said Mesa County Sheriff Todd Rowell. “I’m concerned with the level of fire danger we are seeing, one spark could quickly spread into a dangerous wildfire threatening lives, property and natural resources.”
Agencies implement fire restrictions based on specific criteria to include the moisture content of vegetation, the weather outlook, and human risk factors. The data and potential for significant wildfires are balanced with the impacts on the community. In addition to above-average to record temperatures there is a significant crop of dry grass that will rapidly carry fire.
"As we enter the peak summer season with hotter and dryer conditions, we hope the public will remain vigilant and cautious while recreating on your public lands," stated Grand Junction Field Manager Greg Wolfgang.
In addition to adhering to fire restrictions, community members are asked to be aware of the fire danger when outdoors. A spark from a dragging chain on a trailer, or even a hot exhaust pipe from a car parked in tall grass pose a significant fire risk. Also dispose of cigarettes properly and never leave a campfire unattended.
“Understanding and following the guidelines of fire restrictions is just a way of life out here. It’s up to each and every one of us to follow this guidance to protect ourselves and our community by not allowing fires to start in the first place" said Grand Junction Fire Chief Ken Watkins.
What Stage I Fire Restrictions Mean
Fireworks are not allowed under Stage I Fire Restrictions. Professional fireworks shows may be allowed through the permitting process.
Campfires are ONLY allowed in designated fire pits or fire rings.
Smoking in open areas is not allowed EXCEPT within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area of at least six feet diameter that is barren or cleared of all combustible material.
While the restrictions do not impact most shooting sports, explosive targets are prohibited. The public is asked to be extra cautious when target shooting during fire restrictions.
The open burning of yard waste or fields is prohibited EXCEPT for agricultural burns with a Sheriff Issued Burn Permit. The Sheriff’s Fire Marshal will conduct an onsite inspection of each planned burn BEFORE a Burn Permit is issued to ensure all safety precautions are met. If they are not met, and conditions do not allow for a safe burn a permit will NOT be issued and any agricultural burn will be in violation of the fire restrictions in place.
Causing a fire during fire restrictions can be a class 6 felony and can be punishable by fines up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment up to 18 months. Other possible charges include Fourth Degree Arson and Intentionally Setting a Wildfire. You may also be held financially responsible for damage caused.
The use of fireworks, flares, or other incendiary devices, are always prohibited on federal lands. Wood fires are never permitted anywhere on the Colorado National Monument.