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June 12, 2012
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Grand County implements fire ban

Commissioners approved a fire ban for unincorporated Grand County on Tuesday.

Although commercial professional fireworks displays are allowed, the sale and use of personal fireworks is prohibited by the ban, according to the decision made in Hot Sulphur Springs.

Use of charcoal grills or gas outdoor grills on private property such as home decks is still allowed under the ban, but use of charcoal grills on public property is prohibited.

And use of fire pits of any kind on private property is not allowed - such as chimineas, wrought iron fire pits and backyard fire pits.

However, the fire ban does not restrict use of fire rings and pits at supervised, developed and "established" campgrounds in Grand County, both commercial and public.

Burning of fence rows, irrigation ditches, fields, wildlands, trash and debris is prohibited.

Use of an indoor fireplace is allowed.

The ban was approved based on information from U.S. Forest Service officials and in agreement with the Grand County Sheriff's Office. It went into effect at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 12 - about two hours after commissioners unanimously approved the ban.

The so-called Stage 1 county "ban"on outdoor fires is similar to and meant to work in unison with the U.S. Forest Service's Stage 1 fire "restrictions," which are scheduled to be implemented by Friday, according to U.S. Forest officials.

In effect, fire restrictions will not only apply to unincorporated Grand County, but also to U.S. Forest Service lands in Grand County. Individual municipalities in Grand County have the option to follow suit. At Rocky Mountain National Park, level 1 fire restrictions are standard on a daily basis, according to Park spokesperson Kyle Patterson. Fires are only allowed in designated and developed camping areas. "We always operate under fire restrictions," she said. "We don't allow open fires, period." The public will be informed if the Park moves to a temporary total ban on campfires in the future, she said.

U.S. Forest Service officials announced Tuesday the weather station at the Harbison Meadow in Rocky Mountain National Park meets all criteria such as fuel moistures and county preparedness level for stage 1 restrictions, data that influenced the commissioners' decision.

Penalties for violations of the fire ban in unincorporated Grand County start at $100 per violation, with court fines up to $1,000.

The ban - which also "strongly discourages" smoking outside, except within enclosed motor vehicles, buildings or developed picinic grounds or campgrounds - is somewhat similar to bans the county last implemented in 2006 and 2007.

Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603


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The Sky-Hi News Updated Jun 12, 2012 04:57PM Published Jun 12, 2012 04:39PM Copyright 2012 The Sky-Hi News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.