The Mesa County Sheriff, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the Fire Chiefs representing municipalities and fire protection districts of Mesa County are implementing Stage 1 Fire Restrictions effective at 12:01 a.m. Friday, June 18th, 2021. This applies to all of Mesa County including BLM land. For Fire Restriction information on land managed by the U.S. Forest Service, click here.
In 2020, three of the state’s largest wildfires on record burned including the Pine Gulch Fire in Mesa County. Since then, Mesa County’s drought conditions have only worsened. Mesa County is currently experiencing Exceptional and Extreme Drought conditions. Combined with recent dry and record hot temperatures, one spark has the potential to quickly spread into a dangerous wildfire.
“We are starting off fire season worse off than last year. The stage is set for a potentially longer duration and more hazardous fire season,” said Mesa County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services Director Andy Martsolf. “This year more than ever, we need the community’s help to prevent fires. Together we can significantly reduce human-caused fires by being proactive and cautious with activities that could ignite a wildfire.”
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions prohibit:
- Personal use of fireworks
- Campfires outside of designated fire pits or fire rings
- Agricultural open burning without a Sheriff’s issued burn permit
- Use of explosive targets
- Smoking outside near combustible materials.
Agencies implement fire restrictions based on specific criteria to include the moisture content of vegetation, weather outlooks, and human risk factors. The data and potential for significant wildfires are balanced with the impacts on the community. The National Weather Service is forecasting above-average to record temperatures with no relief from rain anytime soon.
"As we enter the peak summer season with hotter and dryer conditions, we hope the public will remain vigilant and cautious while recreating on your public lands," stated Grand Junction Field Manager Greg Wolfgang.
In addition to adhering to fire restrictions, community members are asked to be aware of the fire danger when outdoors. A spark from a draining chain on a trailer, or even a hot exhaust pipe from a car parked in tall grass pose a significant fire risk. Also, dispose of cigarettes properly and never leave a campfire unattended.
“Fire prevention is a community-wide endeavor, and we must all work together to prevent fires in Mesa County," said Grand Junction Fire Chief Ken Watkins.
View the Interactive Fire Restrictions Map at bit.ly/Fire_Restrictions
for the latest information on Fire Restrictions in Mesa County and surrounding communities.
What Stage I Fire Restrictions Mean
Fireworks are not allowed under Stage I Fire Restrictions. Professional fireworks shows may be allowed through the permitting process.
Campfires are ONLY allowed in designated fire pits or fire rings.
Smoking in open areas is not allowed EXCEPT within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area of at least six feet diameter that is barren or cleared of all combustible material.
While the restrictions do not impact most shooting sports, explosive targets are prohibited. The public is asked to be extra cautious when target shooting during fire restrictions.
The open burning of yard waste or fields is prohibited EXCEPT for agricultural burns with a Sheriff Issued Burn Permit. The Sheriff’s Fire Marshal will conduct an onsite inspection of each planned burn BEFORE a Burn Permit is issued to ensure all safety precautions are met. If they are not met, and conditions do not allow for a safe burn a permit will NOT be issued and any agricultural burn will be in violation of the fire restrictions in place. Applications for a Sheriff issued Burn Permit can be found here
Causing a fire during fire restrictions can be a class 6 felony and can be punishable by fines up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment up to 18 months. Other possible charges include Fourth Degree Arson (M2) and Intentionally Setting a Wildfire (F3). You may also be held financially responsible for damage caused.
The use of fireworks, flares, or other incendiary devices, are always prohibited on federal lands. Wood fires are never permitted anywhere on the Colorado National Monument.