The increasingly dry conditions around the state have prompted messages from the Grand County Sheriff’s office, the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest Service and East Grand Fire Protection District in the past week, and, a red flag warning was just issued on Tuesday. With the Fourth of July fast approaching, it’s a good reminder of the greatest natural (and often preventable) disaster we face in the high country.
The Grand County Sheriff’s Office focused on the fact that Wildfire Prevention Season is here! Their call to action is “Are you prepared? Do you have “defensible space” around your home or property?”. Reducing fire risk is not the responsibility of one agency or group, but of EVERYONE who lives and works in a community. It is important to remember that wildland fire is a natural process within certain ecosystems. However, large wildfires have been more prevalent in recent years and can threaten lives and property.
During the past week, there have been numerous human caused wildland fires forest-wide. Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest Service stated that their Fire officials are urging residents and visitors to help prevent wildfires. Even though some snowpack remains in higher elevations, grasses are drying out which leads to higher fire danger.
The wildland fire community of northern Colorado noted that the Fourth of July holiday brings many visitors onto public lands. Folks are reminded that fireworks and exploding targets are not allowed on national forest system lands, so leave them home. Forest Service officials ask that all forest visitors be considerate and practice fire prevention. Know before you go on that camping trip! Fire restrictions may be in place. Target shooting and use of power equipment can spark a wildfire. If you do have a campfire, keep it small, never leave it unattended, and put it out completely before you leave.
Be sure to have maps with you to ensure you are on public land. The Forest Service provides Motor Vehicle Use Maps as a free resource that can help. They are available at district offices or online or through the AVENZA app. Learn more about maps at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/maps. Many roads are open for the season, but be sure to check road status before heading out at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/roads. For additional information, visit the Forest Service online at www.fs.usda.gov/arp
The East Grand Fire Prevention District just changed Grand County’s Fire Danger Status to Moderate this week and asks that everyone please be aware of any fires or open flames. If you see an unattended fire or a fire that has not been properly extinguished, please call it in. You can reach the East Grand Fire Protection District at (970) 726-5824 or visit eastgrandfire.com