Fire restrictions expanding across Western Slope

Fire restrictions are being imposed across more of western Colorado due to continuing tinder-dry conditions, as evidenced by several fires in the region.

Stage 1 restrictions take effect today on the White River National Forest, and on lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and private lands in unincorporated parts of Rio Blanco, Eagle and Summit counties.

The restrictions already have been in place in Mesa, Garfield and Pitkin counties.

The BLM says the Peekaboo Fire has burned at least 4,200 acres of BLM land in a remote, rugged area 50 miles west of Craig. The fire is burning on Peekaboo Ridge, just west of Irish Canyon and Moffat County Road 10N and north of Colorado Highway 318. The roads were open as of late Wednesday but authorities advised the public to be prepared for possible closures.

As of late Wednesday, no public evacuations had occurred and no structures were threatened. About three ranches and Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge are a few miles south of the fire and were being monitored by ground crews.

The Peak 2 Fire between Frisco and Breckenridge in Summit County has forced the evacuation of residents in the Peak 7 development and resulted in other area residents being placed on pre-evacuation notice, while also closing trails in the area, including part of the Colorado Trail.

As of Thursday, 72 firefighters were battling the lightning-caused East Rim Fire 10 miles northeast of Dove Creek in southwest Colorado. That fire has burned some 300 acres.

The Gutzler Fire 14 miles southwest of Kremmling has burned hundreds of acres and forced the closure of the BLM’s campground and Colorado River boat launch at Radium.

Under Stage 1 fire restrictions:

■ campfires are limited to ones in designated fire grates in developed campgrounds;

■ fires including charcoal fires are prohibited outside developed areas;

■ smoking is limited to enclosed vehicles or buildings, developed recreation sites and areas free of vegetation;

■ use of explosive materials and targets is banned;

■ welding and use of acetylene and other open-flame torches are limited to areas cleared of vegetation;

■ use of chain saws and other equipment with internal combustion engines is limited to ones with working spark arrestors.


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