Montezuma County lifts fire ban, in effect since April

Monday, Sept. 10, 2018 1:40 PM
The Journal file

Dry conditions led to early brush fires like this one near Towaoc in April and triggered a countywide fire ban in April. It was lifted Sept. 10.

The fire ban for Montezuma County was lifted Monday by the county commissioners on the recommendation from local fire department chiefs and Sheriff Steve Nowlin.

Cortez Fire Protection District Chief Jay Balfour said lower temperatures and increased humidity have decreased fire risk in the county.

The ban, which prohibited open fires and use of firecrackers, had been in place since April 16 because of drought conditions and local wildfires.

Montezuma County remains in the exceptional drought category, the worst level, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, said weather watcher Jim Andrus, of Cortez.

The Tres Rios Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management and the San Juan National Forest lifted their fire bans in July.

Year-round fire restrictions are still in place for the Durango Special Recreation Management Area within the city limits of Durango. It includes the BLM-managed lands of Grandview, Animas City Mountain and Skyline. These year-round restrictions prohibit camping and campfires.

Mesa Verde National Park lifted its fire ban on Sept. 6, citing recent rain showers and lower temperatures. Standard fire restrictions are still in effect at the park, and campfires are allowed only in established fire grates at Morefield Campground and the Chapin Mesa Picnic Area. Smoking is permitted outside, except within cliff dwellings and other archaeological sites. The park fire ban had been in place since May 27.