GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — Public land authorities urge the public to exercise additional caution while using campfires and flammable materials, where permitted, in order to prevent human-caused fires, as our country gets ready to celebrate Independence Day. Before you go for the long weekend, be informed, and visit https://www.westslopefireinfo.com for information on local fire restrictions.

If you take the proper precautions, summertime spent on your public lands may be full of unforgettable experiences. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Curecanti National Recreation Area, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests, Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC), West Region Wildfire Council (WRWC), National Park Service (NPS), and these organizations would like to offer a few helpful reminders and tips for best practices to help prevent wildfires while enjoying recreation on public lands over the coming summer.

A few things those recreational users on public lands should be aware of can assist prevent an inadvertent wildfire. Please keep the following in mind to lower the danger of wildfires:

•Practice proper vehicle maintenance, ensure that tow chains are secured, and the vehicle has no dragging parts, check tire pressure, and properly maintain your brakes. Even chains dragging along the ground, such as those on ATVs, can spark fires.

•Park vehicles/trailers and off-highway vehicles away from dry grass or brush.

•When target shooting, where allowed, take a few simple precautions to prevent devastating results: place your target on dirt or gravel, switch to paper targets, avoid incendiary targets and exploding ammunition, bring a shovel and fire extinguisher, and report any fires by calling 911.

•Fireworks are never permitted on public lands, leave them at home.

•If you are camping in an area not currently under fire restrictions and build a fire outside a designated fire ring, where allowed, make sure you clear the area of debris including, grasses and small vegetation. Clear your fire site perimeter approximately 10 feet in diameter and use rocks or a fire pan to contain your fire. Never leave a fire unattended and make sure that you completely put out your campfire before leaving your campsite. Practice the drown, stir, feel method when extinguishing your campfire. Use water or dirt to douse the fire, stir the ashes and if necessary, continue to add water or dirt until the fire is smothered.

•When smoking in a non-restricted area, always dispose of cigarette debris in an ashtray. Never throw cigarettes or any trash out the windows of vehicles.

•Avoid driving and parking in tall grasses. Exhaust particles and hot exhaust pipes can start grass fires. In some locations, it may be illegal for vehicles to travel off the pavement.

Always confirm whether there are any fire restrictions with local agencies and counties in the region you will be visiting. Understand what is and is not permitted. Please abide by those limitations. Online information on local fire restrictions may be found at https://www.westslopefireinfo.com/.

Even an unintentional fire start can result in a person being held accountable, which may include paying penalties or spending time in jail. For more fantastic advice on how to avoid wildfire and be ready for fire season, see One Less Spark (http://www.readyforwildfire.org/Prevent-Wildfire/). Visit www.smokeybear.com to find out more about campfire safety.