The San Juan National Forest, Tres Rios district of the Bureau of Land Management and state of Colorado have implemented fire restrictions effective Aug. 20.
The fire restrictions are in response to drought conditions and forecasts of hot, dry weather.
Stage 1 fire restrictions for the BLM and San Juan National Forest prohibit fires unless they are in a designated fire ring at developed recreation areas.
Smoking is allowed only in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or in an area of at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
Use of a stove or grill solely fueled by liquid petroleum or a sheepherder-type stove with a chimney and mesh screen spark arrester are allowed. Fireworks are not allowed in the county or national forest or BLM land.
Montezuma County lifted its fire ban Aug. 11, but the state fire ban takes precedent over the county ban, and will be enforced, said Sheriff Steve Nowlin.
“No controlled burning is allowed, and no burn ban exemption permits will be issued or authorized,” Nowlin said in a public notice. “The Montezuma County Sheriff is directed to assist in the enforcement in the State Fire Ban Order.”
Hot, dry weather and low fuel moisture have contributed to the bans, said Esther Godson, public affairs specialist with the San Juan National Forest.
“It is smoky, hot and dry, and that weather pattern is looking to continue,” she said.
Also, local firefighting crews and equipment have become preoccupied with large wildfires in Colorado and the country, Godson said.
Violating a fire ban on the National Forest carries a $300 fine.
The San Juan National Forest and Tres Rios BLM had lifted its fire bans July 30 after monsoonal rains, but fire restrictions were reinstated because of persistent dry conditions and to align with the statewide burn ban.
More than 61% of Colorado is experiencing severe or extreme drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Montezuma and Dolores counties are in the “severe drought” category, and La Plata County is under “extreme drought.”
To report illegal fires or wildfires, call 911.