Local News

Stage 1 Fire Restriction In Place Starting Friday

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo - It's expected to by a dry spring and summer in Mesa County, and after experiencing the devastation of the Skipper Island Fire and many out-of-control burns so far this season, the Mesa County Sheriff's Office is issuing a Stage 1 Fire Restriction starting Friday.

The decision for a Stage 1 Fire Restriction is made by the MCSO in tandem with other fire agencies recommendation, and it means that certain types of burning are off-limits during the restriction's duration.

"We, as partner agencies represented here, don't take these decisions lightly. We look at all of the different models, we look at the incoming weather, we look at the potential for human-caused fires, and most importantly this year we consider the drought conditions that we're in and the extreme danger for fires and wildfires within our county this year", says Mesa County Sheriff Matt Lewis.

Restrictions include residential controlled burns, smoking cigarettes near combustible material or in an area where a fire could start, fireworks, non-enclosed campfires, or the use of equipment with internal combustion engines such as chainsaws.

"It's important that we do this early, knowing that relief is not in sight, rather than waiting until we have a problem that we need to react to that's more severe than we have today", says Lewis.

"It's important for our citizens to know that a wildfire can happen anywhere. They can happen in an urban area, they can happen outside that area and I think we've seen that already with the two major fires that we've had here in the Grand Valley", says Ken Watkins the Fire Chief for the Grand Junction Fire Department.

The sheriff's office releases that not all burning is restricted, any enclosed campfires, fire-pits, and propane or gas grilling. Agricultural burns are also allowed but require a few extra steps than without a fire restriction in place.

"The process would be this, they would need to contact us at the Sheriff's office and our Fire Marshall, which is Sergeant Rich Acree, would actually come out to do an inspection of the property, ensure that it meets the criteria for an agricultural burn, ensure that it can be done in a safe manner, and then issue a permit to that owner for the burn", says Sheriff Lewis.

The sheriff's office also has a map online showing areas in Mesa County that are under Stage 1 Fire Restriction. The map can be found at the top of the sheriff's office home page at sherrif.mesacounty.us.

They advise to always be aware before you start any fire, remember what you can and can't burn, and to contact the MCSO to see if there's a fire restriction in place.


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