In Montezuma County, controlled burns, fireworks and open fires are banned during a red flag day. Residents in unincorporated Montezuma County are directed by county ordinance to call a dispatcher at 970-565-8441 the day of the proposed burn and before it is started. A violation of the ordinance may be punished by a fine of up to $1,000.
On Monday, Montezuma County commissioners on Monday announced that a countywide fire ban would take effect on April 16, based on a recommendation from Sheriff Steve Nowlin. Beginning April 16, no open fires or use of fireworks will be allowed in unincorporated Montezuma County.
Dolores County also is under a red flag warning, but does not have an ordinance banning open fires and fireworks.
Gusty, dry and warm weather is expected through Wednesday, with high temperatures near 70 degrees, and overnight lows around 45 degrees. Winds are expected to be 15 to 25 mph, with gusts reaching 35 mph. Humidity is expected to b 9 to 14 percent.
There’s a 20 percent chance of rain or snow showers Thursday and Friday, the weather service said. Sunny and cool weather is expected Saturday through Monday.
The red flag warnings and fire ban come after a brush fire on Saturday forced the evacuation of a family that lives north of the Ute Mountain Casino in Towaoc. The fire spread quickly near U.S. Highway 160 and County Road A and shut down U.S. Highway 160 for more than two hours, from roughly 4 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. The Cortez Fire Protection District, Ute Mountain Ute and Lewis-Arriola fire departments responded to the scene.